IT Infrastructure

Classroom Connections @Twitter

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — January 29, 2010 1 min read
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Is Twitter a tool to improve classroom learning and communication or a vehicle that will discourage in-depth thinking?

The answer most likely falls somewhere between those two extremes, providing plenty of room for debate about the educational utility of such tools. “It’s not a research-based tool,” says Daniel T. Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. “The most important thing to remember is that we have no idea what impact these tools [like Twitter] have on learning, and it will take a decade to answer that question.”

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For a more in-depth version of this story, read “Twitter Lessons in 140 Characters or Less.”

Twitter is defined as a “real-time short messaging service” on the Web site of the San Francisco-based company of that name, which was founded in 2006. Users subscribe to the blog feeds of others on the site and send out messages—called “tweets”—to their own “followers” within the allotted 140-character maximum.

Classroom Connections @Twitter

teacher great job finding and sharing resources guys
7:05 PM Oct 8th from web in reply to ZachH1212

teacher From slavery 2 White House, Michelle Obama’s slave roots revealed. Comments please!
7:46 PM Oct 8th from web

student 1 @fhsush this is really shocking that they traced it back that far and found a tie it really just amazing
8:07 PM Oct 8th from web

student 2 @fhsush thats AMAZING. times have really changed. that is amazing that they can trace back that far.
8:11 PM Oct 8th from web in reply to fhsush

student 1 @fhsush WOW! i would have never guessed that. its awesome to see such a connections to slavery in our own White House. amazing
8:19 PM Oct 8th from web in reply to fhsush

SOURCE: A recent string of tweets from Lucas Ames’ history class at the Flint Hill School in Oakton, Va.

Twitter has not caught on among school-age children as quickly or universally as other Web 2.0 tools, such as Facebook or MySpace: Only about 1 percent of the estimated 12 million users in the United States are between the ages of 3 and 17, although young adults are the fastest-growing group of users, according to recent reports. Still, some teachers are hoping that, given the appeal of social networking, Twitter can be used to get students engaged in the content and processes of school.

Dorie Glynn, who teaches a bilingual 2nd grade class at Kirk Elementary School in Houston, has been preparing students for conversations of their own on Twitter. The students have started following other classes at the school, and across the country, as they get ready to share data on regional cultures and on weather, and to play a virtual I Spy game.

A version of this article appeared in the February 03, 2010 edition of Digital Directions as Classroom Connections @Twitter

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