MicrobloggingA microblog differs from a regular blog, in that it has a limit on length, so that posts must be concise and to the point. The most famous example of a microblog is Twitter. Again, joining Twitter is something I scoffed at until recently, thinking it was exclusively for self-indulgent celebrities! However, stay posted, as the next stop for me is creating my Twitter account! This inspirational video is what changed my mind;
So, should we use microblogging, in particular Twitter, in the classroom? I have come to the decision that yes, we certainly should! As the video above demonstrates, what an amazing way to stay up to date with your interests, why shouldn't children be offered this opportunity as well? When a class is studying a particular topic, why not follow Twitter accounts posting relevant, topical information. I believe this would be an engaging and authentic learning experience, and would connect children with the issue or topic within the greater community.
In addition, summarising an event, story or issue is a skill that children need to learn, as we have all experienced the drawn-out (admittedly very endearing) tales of children. Twitter would provide an authentic medium for children to share information in a concise manner; teaching children to think about the value of every word they are writing. In my honors year at university, I had a similar experience where we had to summarise every scientific paper we read in under 300 words, including objectives, methods, results, conclusions and a critique. It was a steep and valuable learning curve, and definitely taught me a new skill!
So in summary, Twitter in the classroom can be valuable to;
- Follow children's areas of interest.
- Follow issues and current events.
- Writing tasks; Forced to summarise and be concise.
- For teachers; connect with other teachers, share resources and stay up to date with issues.
- For teachers; class blog to communicate news and events with students and parents.