Marketing Pilgrim's "Social Media" Channel

Sponsor Marketing Pilgrim's Social Media Channel today! Get in front of some of the most influential readers in the Internet and social media marketing industry. Contact us today!

Twitter in the Classroom




Ever since teaching 6th graders about blogging, I’ve paid more attention to how social media sites can enhance learning. Blogging certainly can improve writing skills and at the same time introduce children to ideas that will make them more marketable when they hit the job force (assuming they do).

I haven’t heard of elementary school teachers using Twitter, but David Parry, an assistant professor of Emerging Media and Communications at the University of Texas at Dallas says Twitter really enhances learning in his classes.

He calls Twitter a “classroom-communication tool.” His class titled, “Introduction to Computer-Mediated Communication” was the trial run. Students were required to sign up for Twitter and to send a few messages with the service each week. They had to subscribe to his Twitter feed. He updated students a few times a day on useful web sites, or the rhythm of his day.

The class made the news, but it also built community into the classroom which spilled into better class discussions. This post on using Twitter in the classroom goes more in-depth. Here are some thoughts:

  • Twitter is a way to record thoughts and ideas that you search – it’s a history
  • Twitter connects you to a larger world outside of the classroom and even the country
  • Students can follow people who do what they want to do or who they admire and get a sense for their job and life
  • Twitter can improve writing and punctuation
  • Students love contests. If they hurry they can still enter Marketing Pilgrim’s Twitter contest and possibly win the free Nokia Internet Tablet (which can greatly enhance learning while waiting in line and letting you do homework, like Twittering, on the run).

So much of learning is going on inside a student’s head and you don’t know what they’re getting and how they apply what they’re learning. Twitter can give insights about the process and that can help educators make teaching more relevant.

  • Dean

    Ok call me an out of touch, cranky, old man but…

    Haven’t we got more pressing issues in the classroom that might be a tad more important than teaching “Twitter 101″….to 6th graders????? Whatever happened to the good ol’ three R’s? The U.S. education typically ranks below other nation in most areas (http://www.cesame-nm.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=15) and we’re teaching 6th graders the benefits of Twitter????? 6th graders???????

    “Blogging certainly can improve writing skills and at the same time introduce children to ideas that will make them more marketable when they hit the job force (assuming they do).”

    Ya know that reminds me I gotta get my 6th grader to update his resume and include that he knows all about blogging and Twitter. That will give him a definite edge in the babysitting market. A 6th grader being more marketable in the job force???? What is he getting a job at a Nike shoe factory in Tailand???? For Crissakes he’s a 6th grader!! Can we at least let him take a shot a the Science Fair before he hits the job market?????

    To play the devil’s advocate on your points…
    1. Twitter is a way to record thoughts and ideas that you search – it’s a history

    “in cafeteria…meatloaf today…yuck!” So how is this historical record helping exactly??

    2. Twitter connects you to a larger world outside of the classroom and even the country

    So what is a 6th grader going to learn about the ‘larger world outside’ (let’s say the election process), using Twitter that they can’t learn from the teacher talking about the election process? You know perhaps after the students read a chapter about the election process in a Social Studies book….you know, books…they’re things that can really connect / teach you about the larger world?

    3. Students can follow people who do what they want to do or who they admire and get a sense for their job and life.

    “Hey! Kevin Rose’s plane just got delayed in Chicago, he’s getting another latte!” Enough said.

    4. Twitter can improve writing and punctuation.

    I couldn’t agree more. “MMA gym l8tr G2G ur my BFF BFN :)” Ya Twitter is definitely a haven for good writing and punctuation. All the best Shakespeare plays were limited to 160 characters..2B or not 2B….

    5. Students love contests. If they hurry they can still enter Marketing Pilgrim’s Twitter contest and possibly win the free Nokia Internet Tablet (which can greatly enhance learning while waiting in line and letting you do homework, like Twittering, on the run).

    Homework on the Nokia??? A 6th grader is going to do homework on his Nokia Internet Tablet….using Twitter????? Are you insane??? Assuming they don’t leave the thing on the bus, they are more likely going to use it to go to Club Penguin or worse.

    I guess my point is (IMHO) if I found out that my 6th grader’s school time was being used to learn about Twitter, MySpace, or any other social tool, that school would be getting a rather terse phone call from me. Teach my kid math, english, history, etc. I’ll teach him about twitter etc….when I think he’s ready and so that I can set boundaries.

    Also note that the article you referenced is from a university…where kids are preparing for the real world and taking classes where this might be part of the curriculum and therefore relevant. I might also add that they probably know more about Twitter than the Prof, after all they learned about it in 6th grade.

    Ok my rant in done

    Sincerely,
    A guy who walked 8 miles to school in the snow with no shoes.

  • Janet Meiners

    Dean,
    Thanks for your passionate rant. I introduced the subject talking about my experience teaching social media to 6th graders. However, the rest of the article and points are about a university class on media.

    The 6th graders got an hour lesson on Internet marketing and blogging once a week for a few months. They loved it. (see http://mymarketer.net/a-return-to-ms-drapers-class/)

    I’d like to go back and teach Twitter, but there would certainly be different boundaries than for college students.

    Keep your feet warm ;)
    Janet

  • http://www.startupmentality.com Geoff

    Unless 6th graders are older these days, they are not supposed to use Twitter as they are COPPA compliant and restrict the services to 13 years and older. Wait until high school . . .

    Had to LOL about Twitter improving writing and punctuation . . .

  • http://uniquefrequency.wordpress.com Daryl Tay

    I think Twitter can be used by 6th graders for sure, but more importantly, college students need to learn how this can be useful! I read the examples about ways it can help and think “damn, why doesn’t any one use it that way in class?”

    I hope this catches on in 2008

  • Pingback: Twitter 102, Fighting Procrastination With Productivity « Unique-Frequency()

  • Pingback: The Smoking Foot » Top 10 Twitter Hacks()

  • Pingback: Susan Wolak’s Tech Site » Top 10 Twitter Hacks()

  • B Shirey

    I am so pleased to have come across your article and information! This is what I’m focusing my practicum on. I am researching the Social Networking Services and how they can be implemented into the classroom and for the educators to use between themselves. I understand why some people may rant and rave against Twitter, but I also see as an educator and one getting my masters in Instructional Design the benefits and importance of keeping up with technology. I did snicker about the punctuation and writing benefitting from Twitter, then I thought to myself how my cousin (grew up in Maine) could not spell for the life of him and then began to play DAOK (online computer game) and he improved SO much because of chatting with others on the game. He learned to spell and to form intelligent sentences. I do understand this point, now that I looked back. Thank you for teaching technology to the 6th graders! The one point that the one rant brought up was age and usage of Twitter…..I want to look into that but I do find it to be important to “relate” and keep informed about SNS and technology, you can’t look blindly away and say “what happened to the good ol 3R’s” I think it should be said teach in the classroom and then you’ll realize :)

    THANKS A MILLION!

  • B Shirey

    I may also add, it’s wonderful that you care to find out what they enjoy and have an interest in. Who knows what this may lead to?! They could write for a newspaper or magazine, or go on to invent another form of an SNS, or go into the field of technology. I have grown up in a family of educators and each generation was different in their teaching skills. There are things you don’t dare do like they did in the good ol days….. Times change and so do lessons and important issues. If you take an interest in your students and current technology I believe you should be applauded.

  • http://www.thecleversheep.com Rodd Lucier

    This post has some practical advice that would be well worth sharing with us at http://www.twitterforteachers.com. I hope you’ll consider joining us, and perhaps adding some of your ideas to the project.

    All the best!

  • Pingback: 60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom | Fluency21 – Committed Sardine Blog()

  • Pingback: open minds to learning -()

  • Pingback: 60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom - Online Universities.com()

  • Pingback: 60 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom | Behind the Teacher's Desk()

  • Pingback: 60 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom by Category | STEM Readings()

  • Pingback: Communication Breakdown. Students v. Email | Email Marketing to Schools()

  • Pingback: 60 Ways To Use Twitter In The Classroom By Category - Teachers With Apps()

  • Pingback: 60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom | Create Learning Partnership()

  • Pingback: 60 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom by Category | Global Digital Citizen Foundation()

  • Pingback: 60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom | Global Digital Citizen Foundation()

  • Pingback: 60 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom by Category()