Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tear Down This Wall - Twitter in the Classroom


Image: Tear down this wall! Watch the Video (via YouTube)

In Berlin, President Reagan said, "Tear down this wall!" Isn't it ironic that a political group from which a leader like President Ronald Reagan arose to say these words is exactly the kind of group that wants to block off the classroom?

"A vast system of barriers...technological backwardness"...is this our future in U.S. schools? Does freedom still lead to prosperity? Freedom is the victor.


Image Source: YouTube video linked above

Fascinating read of how 8th graders are using Twitter in the Classroom. After reading the blog entry, I'm not convinced that Twitter is ready for use in grade 3-12 classrooms. There are too many holes in privacy and security. It might be better to set up a walled garden app that is focused on microblogging (use Laconica). This would address the privacy/security issues, not to mention the twitter student account management that seems problematic. Could you set up a microblogging walled garden app on a district intranet server, and this would make it work only within the District. You could set it up on an internet server and content would be accessible from anywhere but still under District control.

Of course, many don't think that walled garden apps are the way to go. They block students off from the real Internet from where they can learn, where teachers can take advantage of teachable moments. I'm not convinced that full, unrestricted access to the Web tools available is the way to go. The other day, I had a discussion with one of my colleagues. I found myself straddling the fence, preaching a continuum of learning. On one side of the continuum, we had Lakoff's strict father frame, Dick Westley's Adam I seek to dominate and control, to protect children from an evil world. At the other end of the continuum, we encounter Lakoff's Nurturing Parent frame, Dick Westley's Adam II whose focus is to engage children in dialogue, seizing our encounters with the world as opportunities to model appropriate responses and actions...it is a desire for embracing community, of achieving revelations from a community frame, not just individual revelation.

I may be mixing politics (George Lakoff's "Don't Think of an Elephant") and religion (Dick Westley's "Redemptive Intimacy") together, but I find the dichotomy's, the two extremes shared by these worldviews as a perfect frame for the "Do you allow unrestricted access to the Web or not?" debate. Of course, those educators who are using Read/Write Web tools now are encouraging communal collaboration on learning projects, while those who are not view these efforts with some degree of skepticism, if not hostility. After all, why should the latter group decide to embrace technologies that will breach the barriers they have erected?

Here are my Diigo'd notes from the Classroom Teacher blog....
    • Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?
      • I like to ask instead of "What are you doing?" the question for educators and learners, "What are you learning now?" This is a more valuable question because it gives us insights into the breadth of learning ongoing.... - post by mguhlin
    • two reasons to bring Twitter into the classroom: 1) to examine twitter itself as part of media literacy, and 2) to use twitter as a collaborative tool
    • CNN reported a story on Steve Tucker, a wheat farmer from Nebraska who has more people following him on Twitter in his online community than people who live in his physical community.
    • He tweets using his cell phone from the middle of nowhere.
    • Twitter and social networks are changing the way news gets reported. For example, people in Tehran were able to use their cell phones to tweet what was happening during the Iran election and subsequent demonstrations.
    • Politicians are using social networks to communicate with and mobilize their voters. At the time of writing,
    • 1,654,168 people were following President Obama (twitter.com/BARACKOBAMA)
    • imilar to blogs, wikis, and google docs, twitter is another digital medium that helps people (including students) collaborate and communicate.
    • Think, pair, share is a common teaching strategy that provide students with an opportunity to independently try a problem as well as get feedback from their immediate peers and entire class.
    • Having students write responses on post-it notes can be a great paper-and-pencil tool to help students become more precise in their answers.
    • Posting examples of student work on the wall allows students to see what excellence looks like
    • Timely feedback allows students to self-correct and guides their learning.
      • Students can post responses to a question on Twitter which can be read by their peers allowing for immediate feedback.
      • Responses are limited to 144 characters which is the digital equivalent of a post-it note.
      • Integrating technology into the curriculum helps prepare students for the real world,
    • It’s difficult / time-consuming to set up a class set of twitter accounts for your students
    • You need a different email address for each student account
    • Will Twitter help you create multiple accounts for students?
    • Your teacher account is the same as a student account. (Unlike edublogs, wikispaces, and google apps where you can have an admin account for more control.) The only person who can delete a comment is the person who made the comment.
    • Allowing students to text in their work might create the impression that students need a cell phone for class. Parents might feel pressured to buy expensive phones for their students.
    • BuddyPress is a social networking platform for WordPress MU that might be an interesting alternative to Twitter that allows for more control of student accounts.
    • How we used Twitter in the Classroom
    • Deconstructing commercials using a Post-It note.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.





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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure