The use of Twitter is an acquired action. It certainly takes some time to make it a habit to ones life and when structured to your liking, it is easily will be your number one tool to use for consumption and sharing throughout the day. Below are some key points to help you get started on enhancing your personal learning.
How to get started, hashtags to consider, the use of Tweetdeck, and how to save resources from Twitter.
Readability is a fantastic way to strip down annoying adds and streams on web pages so that you can read free of distractions.
Although Safari, Chrome and Firefox also have “Reader” functions, Readability’s “Read Later” is really where I find the true benefit of their service. Readability can cache webpages for offline reading. This is extremely powerful when combined with Flipboard as an RSS reader.
You’ll first need to download the app and get a Readability account (both free).
In the last two months we’ve completely changed the communication paradigm for our learners here at SIS. No longer does the old axiom, “Children should be seen, and not heard,” apply. If anything, the new axiom for our learners is, “Children can be heard, without being seen.”
Since our students have gone 1:1 iPad, we’ve almost tripled the modes of communication. Whether it is individual, small or whole group conversation, we’ve personalized communication in the classroom. Those means communication are instant messaging, access to their own WordPress blog, Edmodo accounts, and of course school email. Each of these tools have a mostly unique purpose and mostly unique method for use.
This development has led me to create a chart addressing the different tools they can use for communicating and reflecting on their learning, in and out of school. My team and I discussed an idea to have an interactive session, in the coming weeks, when staff and students can brainstorm and agree upon the most effective ways to communicate (email, instant messaging, blog, or Edmodo). We also want to have a group discussion on when it is the best time to use email, instant messaging, WordPress, or Edmodo. The chart below is what we will be collaborating on to learn appropriate and effective use of social media tools. Please feel free to comment.
Many of us are now comfortable with Twitter and see the benefits of using twitter for our own personal development. The next step is to get the students involved. There are many lists of ideas out there on how to use Twitter in the classroom. See the links I’ve added below. Here are the steps I’ve taken and the resources I’ve used:
1. Set-up a class twitter account (if the students are too young to have their own). Mine is @SIStechclass. Make sure you establish clear rules about how you expect the students to tweet. They will each need to initial their tweets on a class account. Also, establish clear guidelines as to what can and can not be tweeted.
2. Tweet via email. The class as a whole can all log into the same account. However, I wanted more control over my younger class so I set-up a Tweetymail account. This allows the students to tweet by sending an email from a specific account. This also means you will need to set-up a new email account for the class. This limits the access the students have to twitter and allows the students to tweet from outside of the classroom.
3. Teach them how to add hashtags. For posting blog links, add #comments4kids at the end of the post. This hashtag, started by @wmchamberlain, is aimed at promoting more comments for class and student blogs. See how Kurt Callahan used this hashtag to get comments on his kids’ realistic fiction pieces:
4. Engage in a Twitter chat. You can always set-up your own hashtag to create your own chat. You can also find specific hashtags set to specific chat times — these are called hashtag chats. Here is a list of current twitter chats and a list of educational twitter chats.