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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 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.

Founder of Anastasis Academy, The Learning Genome Project, 5Sigma Education Conference, tech integration specialist, instructional coach, writer, dreamer.

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  1. It’s so exciting to read about social media being used as an effective tool for reflection and communication with the whole school community! I’m so looking forward to discovering more as you work through this project, Kelly,

  2. This sounds awesome, what a great school where the teachers are engaged and ready to try something new (I am struggling with this at my school!). I can’t wait to read updates from you

  3. Love this! Very interesting and informative. As a teacher candidate I’m just beginning to understand the Twitter world, but am excited to get more comfortable with it myself, and in the classroom.

  4. Hello, I enjoyed your post. My School district wants to set up facebook pages with the comments disabled. I have not been able to figure out how to get the comments disabled. I have unchecked the boxes in the security tab but that does not seem to work. In your post you mentioned setting up a pages with the comments disabled. Can you tell me your secret? How did you do it? Thank you in advance

  5. Thank you Helen…I will tell you, I have been working on wearing them down to this since 2007! The teaching staff is excited to have a go at it!

  6. Kelly, these are so great; I can’t wait to share these with my teachers in the hopes that some will want to give it a try. I don’t know how you have the time to do it all but thank you; you are amazing!

  7. My wife who is a kindergarten teacher has been using twitter for some time now, she has produced a poster about it for TICEduca 2010 (Meeting about Information Technology in education) in Lisbon. Her poster is “O Twitter numa sala de Jardim de Infância” [Twitter in a kindergarten Class].

    You can see the poster here:

    Here is a page on her blog where she talks about the experience:

  8. Wow, good job! I really think it’s great when new, creative uses for social networking sites are discovered. Who knew that Twitter would come in handy as a teaching tool and play an essential role in school communities? Social media should really be used more for purposes like these. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  9. Hello!

    Thanks for sharing. I´m live in Mexicali. I´m a teacher in public school. High school.

    It’s so exciting to read about social media being used as an effective tool for reflection and communication with the students and his fathers.!

    Only one question:

    Social networks in the school, yes or not?

  10. Julio my opinion: YES! Definitely social media in schools. We have the opportunity to teach students how to properly use it and model netiquette. Why wouldn’t we?

  11. Thank you Rachelle, I agree…we have the opportunity to model netiquette and proper use of social media. We should take it!

  12. Debra, thank you so much! It is easy to do things like this…I think that I secretly wish I was a graphic designer 🙂

  13. Interesting ideas for getting the word out beyond Twitter with Facebook fan pages and a daily paper… we’re investigating about taking our classroom Twitter accounts to a new level… your suggestions are especially good for those parents who are not want a Twitter account, but have other social media preferences.

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