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Twitter in the Classroom and Twitter Posters

I think it is fabulous when schools decide to intentionally use social media as part of the learning day.  I am working with a school right now that has hired me to help them do just that. A little background before I tell you how we are doing it: This is a kindergarten through eighth grade private school. There are three classes at every grade level up to fifth grade.  Sixth through eighth grade looks like your typical middle school with a variety of subjects and teachers.  Every classroom has a Promethean interactive whiteboard connected to a Mac Mini as well as two additional Mac Mini’s for students to use and a teacher MacBook.   Full disclosure, this is the school that I taught technology at for 7 years so they know what they are getting when they pull me in on a project like this!  When I was at the school, I used Twitter myself and created a school Twitter account and a school Facebook fan page.  I used think.com with my students to teach and model proper use of social media tools.  In September, the superintendent and communications manager for the school called me in to find out how social media could be used to tell others about the school. They wanted to build up the school community and tell the wider community about what makes the school special using social media tools.  I worked to help them understand that social media does not make a good broadcasting platform. What makes Twitter and Facebook work are the connections it enables and the stories it allows to unfold.  My recommendation to them was to bring the students in on telling that story, they have the most authentic voice, and a unique perspective within the school.  Because we are working with kindergarten through eighth grade students, creating student accounts was not an option, the majority of students at CHC are under 13 years of age.  My work around: create classroom accounts. I created a classroom account for every staff member in the school, all 58 of them! Next I connected each classroom Twitter account with a classroom fan page on Facebook.  I set up the Facebook fan pages so that commenting, photo, and video are turned off (this will be the case until teachers are comfortable enough and want to interact in both spaces).  The idea here is that parents who use Twitter and the wider education and local community will follow the classroom and school Twitter accounts. Parents who are not on Twitter but have Facebook accounts won’t miss out on any updates because the Twitter account is feeding into the page. Teachers will be using the classroom Twitter accounts with students to post updates throughout the day.  Posting will be done as a class using the Mac Mini connected to the Promethean board.  Classes will be using Twitter to reflect on learning, as a class they will share, reflect, engage, inquire, and report.  This doubles nicely as a form of informal formative assessment.  Classes will also use the  Twitter accounts to connect with other classrooms and experts.  Students will not be permitted to post to the accounts without teacher permission because of the Twitter age limit.  I wanted students to be involved in the tweeting not only for the learning opportunities, but also for the opportunity for teachers to model proper use of social media. The main school Twitter account will be used to retweet (RT) posts from the individual classrooms to the larger community, pass along school-wide messages and information, and as a point-point-of-contact for customer service.  Administration and school leaders will be tweeting their unique perspectives about what is happening in the school.  Together, CHC will be writing it’s stories of learning 140 characters at a time. Participation by teachers is optional. I presented the idea to the teaching staff at their last staff meeting using this Prezi.  I invited interested teachers to a Tweetup in a few weeks where we will meet up and learn about using Twitter.  I really pushed to make this optional for teachers, I didn’t want it to feel like one more thing for them to fit into their schedule.  85% of the staff signed up for the tweetup!  I am training teachers off site at a local coffee shop where it won’t feel so much like a typical tech training (hence the tweetup) :).  I’ll fill you in on all the details of that tweetup training in a few weeks. In the mean time, I have been creating posters for the classroom.  The school asked me to create rules for teachers to follow and rules for students to follow when using social media.  I also created posters with ideas for using Twitter in the classroom, authors using Twitter, a web of ed chats and hashtags on Twitter, and Twitter Lingo (Twingo).  I’m sharing these posters below, you can check out the original version that I made for CHC (branding and school hashtags included) and a version for any of you who are interested.  Feel free to download and print the 11×17 posters for your classroom.

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Book Writer: create books on the iPad

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, Create, Foreign Language, Geography, Government, History, Inquiry, Interactive book, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Spelling, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 21-10-2013

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Book Writer app- iLearn TechnologyBook Writer

 

 

 

What it is:  Book Writer is a great app for the iPad (and iPhone or iPod Touch).  This app makes it a snap for kids to create books that can be read directly in iBooks.  With Book Writer, students can create their own ebooks with photos, video, audio and links.  Images and video can be annotated over in the book.  Finished books can be shared using iTunes and E-mail.  One of the best features of Book Writer is the huge number of applications that books can be shared through including: iBooks, Nook, Instashare, Bump, Evernote, Dropbox, and Send Anywhere.  This makes Book Writer wonderfully flexible no matter what apps your school uses regularly.

Book Writer- iLearn Technology

How to integrate Book Writer into the classroom: Book Writer is a great app for students to “publish” their writing in.  Students can compile research, notes, images and videos to create their own textbooks.  Why passively read through a text when students can be a part of creating their own?  This makes the learning so much more valuable and gives students the opportunity to “own” their learning.  Each student’s finished book will be just a little different.  Students can compile class notes, images of work and examples from class, and videos (either their own or other videos they’ve downloaded), reflections on learning, etc. into a book that can be shared.  This would be a fantastic way for students to share what they’ve learned at the end of a unit.  Because of the variety of content that can be included in Book Writer, it would make for a great science journal.  Students can take photos  of a scientific experiment or process, label the images, and reflect on observations, hypothesis, etc.

Students could also use Book Writer as a place to keep all of their creative writing based on visual writing prompts.  Students can include the picture prompt on one page and their writing on the facing page.  Students can add to this book throughout the year and share their “published” writings at the end of the year.

Younger students will find Book Writer easy to use.  These students could create their own word bank picture dictionary.  Ask students to create a new page for each letter.  Every time a word gets added to the class word wall, students can add it to their dictionary.  Students can also add pictures to accompany the words, or audio of themselves saying the word.

Book Writer can be used for a class yearbook and then shared with all students digitally.  The extra fun part are the videos that can be included!

Tips: Book Writer has a clean, easy to use interface.  If you are using with young students, you may want to walk them through where to find tools for the first time.

Compatibility: Requires iOS5.0 or later

Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Price: $3.99 (iTunes link)

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[…] way to collaborate and give them more creative options than just a pen and paper.  This blog, iLearn Technology talks more about this app in […]

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