Twitter: Quick & Easy Classroom CommunicationPosted by Barbara Schroeder on June 21, 2010
Image via CrunchBase
My summer session started today, with a new class I am teaching with a colleague called “EDTECH 597: Mobile Learning.” This class was designed so students could interact entirely with their Internet-enabled mobile devices, learning about mobile learning. We are using a web-based Moodle course site along with a mobile site using a plugin called MLE Moodle. So far, so good, with our timed tweets being sent out through a service called Twuffer. We created a class Twitter feed, called et597 (short and easy to remember) and required our students follow the account and sign up to receive mobile notifications. We also reminded them to add hashtags to their tweets (#et597) so we could follow those easily, too.
Staying in touch with students, parents, and others through short, quick messages can be a lot easier and more efficient than opening an email program and sifting through messages. As more and more people have access to Internet-enabled mobile devices, we can and should use quick and easy methods to stay in touch, and Twitter provides a great way to do this.
If you’ve never used Twitter before, it might seem a bit overwhelming to learn, but it’s really pretty simple. It’s a social networking and microblogging service (you can post up to 140 characters) that allows you to inform people who follow what you are doing, important updates, or even complain about a product.
All you need is an account (each account requires a different email) and then tell your friends, students, or parents the account name and how to follow you. I now use Twitter for all of my classes, telling my students to follow my class Twitter feed and to enable it on their mobile devices for quick alerts. I also embed a Twitter gadget on my Moodle course site, which provides new information as I post it.
Help in Getting Started
To get started, go to the Twitter home page (http://twitter.com), create an account, and then practice, having a friend follow you. Once you see how it works, you might think of using it in your classes, to keep students and parents informed of news and updates, right on their mobile devices. In fact, I’ll even share our Twitter information on how to set up a Twitter account, how to follow one, and how to enable alerts on your mobile device (Google Doc).
And while you’re at it, follow me @boisebarbara (http://twitter.com/boisebarbara) and tweet me your ideas on how you use Twitter in the classroom. I’d love to hear from you.
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