Friday, November 12, 2010

Twitterrific Teaching

TCEA TechEdge magazine arrived today...thank you for the assignment and publishing the article!

You can find the complete version online below... or read the PDF version.

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service. It allows users to send and read other users' updates (a.k.a. tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.
Source: Wikipedia -

Solutions Abound - 5 Actions to Twitterific Teaching
by Miguel Guhlin -

“We need diversity of thought in the world,” shares Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, “to face the new challenges.” The challenges arrive from a highly connected world. Is it any surprise that the technology that links us together also suggests solutions? Explore 5 actions you can take to realize these solutions to new challenges in your classroom.

Action #1 - Engage students via questions and gather responses for reflection.
Steve Wheeler ( suggests orchestrating “MicroMeets.” These involve holding topic discussions with students on Twitter. Students can also focus on a “Twitter penpal,” or learning buddy, that they can discuss class content with. By adding a hashtag--which looks like this: #SocialLearning--the teacher, as well as students, can track the course of the conversation. Find out more in Sidebar #1.

Action #2 - Reflective writing about course content.
Similar to Twitter penpals, another approach involves students using Twitter to engage in collaborative writing about the some aspect of the course. Students can craft a narrative that includes reflection about the course content. Then, read the story by searching on the hashtag. More ideas are available online at

Action #3 - Build a supportive community of learners.
Managing a class’ priorities poses difficulties for students. Twittering students can support each other by sharing their progress on those priorities. Students can also share links about what they learn, resources they can share with their community. Easily build your class Twitter group with (find out more at, or create a Twitter group with to facilitate sharing.

Action #4 - Connect with “experts” in the field who can offer “real life” feedback/insights into learner thinking processes.
We learn through connections with others. Get ahead; learn to connect with others. In the past, conferences, articles read from magazines did the job. Now, we have each other. Twitter enables those connections.

Consider United Kingdom educator, Tom Barrett’s experience:
In my experience...Twitter has grown quickly to play a major part in the way that I interact with fellow colleagues and professionals from around the world. In my classroom and with the children I teach it has been an exciting tool to utilise and support learning.

Build your personal learning network on Twitter.

Action #5 - Solicit class feedback to enhance the class’ learning experience.
Use Twitter to facilitate “reader response” about class content or readings. For example, the teacher could set up a TwitterWall ( and project it on the wall. Be sure to set ground rules and help students understand that feedback is public and, that they are responsible for what they say.

While the speed of communication can flatten the world, bringing problems closer to home, let’s not forget that if we can connect and collaborate with others, solutions abound.

SideBar #1 - Popular Education HashTags
Hashtags are search terms that Twitter users decide to standardize on. You can find more online at They are essential keywords (a.k.a. tags) that describe a topic, whether it's a conference, an event, a tv show, or whatever. They are created by adding the "#" in front of a word or phrase.

Here are some of the popular education-related hashtags I follow:
  1. #moodle
  2. #edtech
  3. #education
  4. #edchat
  5. #elearning or #onlinelearning
  6. #writing
  7. #nwp
  8. #socmedia
  9. #geogebra

Subscribe to all of these hashtags using Google Reader by visiting this link:

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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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