My first uneducated response to twitter was overwhelmingly negative. I couldn’t believe the display of minutia from daily lives that sometimes occurs on Facebook was going to be condensed and streamlined by Twitter. The name itself conjures silly images and ideas. The first is the Jackson 5 adaptation of Rockin Robin seen below.
He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet
If the power of Twitter, and Facebook for that matter, needed vindication in got it in exponential fashion during the Arab Spring. A study by the University of Washington’s Catherine O’Donnell states that, “In the 21st century, the revolution may not be televised – but it likely will be tweeted, blogged, texted and organized on Facebook, recent experience suggests” (2011). After analyzing other media sites and other 3 million tweets the article found that the sites were pivotal in shaping the political conversation. The democratizing effect of the dissemination of inexpensive information has been seen to have great effects all over the world. This point is driving home by Bono citing some uplifting statistics when it comes to crippling poverty.
Twitter use in Schools
One of the great features of twitter is its’ quick and efficient way to keep people informed. An example of this is the BC Education Plan Twitter feed. Here are some recent tweets from them that could be useful to teacher`s parents and students.
1. BC’s Education Plan @bcedplan23 Mar
BC’s Education Plan: Making a great system even better (op-ed from @DonMcRaeMLA): http://ow.ly/jlPyx #bced #bclearns
2. BC’s Education Plan @bcedplan22 Mar
Kevin’s idea for #skills4bc was to make trades training programs like his more mainstream http://ow.ly/1TS5y3 #bced #bclearns
3. BC’s Education Plan @bcedplan21 Mar
Parents in Vancouver, attend a #bcjobfair w/ your kids Mar 28. Help them make informed career choices http://ow.ly/hDCbM #bcparent
Twitter in the Classroom
There are a great many examples of how Twitter can be effective in the classroom. The link below discusses 50 of them. Among my favorite are Tweeting about upcoming assignments and due dates, creating a career list of followers that could be helpful to whatever each students future endeavors may be , and writing a story or poem using the enabling constraint of 140 characters.
I must admit I am still trying to find my way into Twitter. There seems to be some natural repelling fashion to it. With all the technology out there it is hard to condense it all into a format that is easy for instructors, administrators, students, and parents to use. There is also the fear that a mastery of one application will quickly be rendered useless by the next big innovation. I guess the only answer is to strap in and fully commit to lifelong learning every teacher should try to instill to their students.