As much as I’ve been talking up Twitter lately, I’m still super new to using this amazing tool and am constantly learning. I already know some of the great things that can come out of Twitter, but I’m far from knowing all of its amazing powers! So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone! I’ve slowly been learning, one step at a time!
I first joined Twitter a few years ago when everyone else was doing it. My husband raved about it, but I wasn’t much of a sports follower (which is the main reason why he loves Twitter), so although I had an account, I was never really on there.
Then, last year, I started following along a little more closely. I would mostly just creep around and do a lot of retweeting. This is when I started to get a taste of how an educator could really benefit from being on Twitter. This new discovery really set in when I attended the Summer Institute at High Tech High in San Diego last June with one of my dear friends, Meg who is a master Twitterer. Ever since then, I’ve been checking Twitter daily and have been so excited for all of the opportunities in professional growth it has given me. Just last week, I discovered what education chats were all about, and although I haven’t yet participated in one, I am excited for that possibility!! (Click here in order to see the Twitter education chats schedule: education chat)
Now, I’m continuing to grow and using Twitter to take my students and I a little further! A week ago, I was perfectly comfortable with simply using Twitter for myself, for my professional growth, and for networking and collaborating, but after seeing this picture posted by George , my mind has been racing:
Then, following this post, I found a tweet by Mme Rea asking for schools around the world to tweet her back with pictures of trees around our own schools to help her students with their research. Well, I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and seeing George’s picture AND Madame Rea’s Tweet involving her students, pushed me to do something more…
On Thursday afternoon, I asked my students to raise their hand if they had ever heard of the word Twitter; almost every student raised his or her hand. Then, I asked my students to raise their hand if they knew what Twitter was; a handful of students raised their hands. Finally, I asked my students what they knew about Twitter and if they could explain what it was. I was completely and utterly blown away – my students, my FIRST GRADE students, basically completely explained what Twitter is. They used words like “app” and “tweet” and knew that you could tweet messages, pictures or videos and that these were shared with the whole world. This was such a great start and got me really excited for what this could mean for our class using Twitter this year! I furthered my students’ understanding of Twitter by showing them my Twitter feed and my Twitter page. By going through my feed, we saw tweets by our school (@magLRSD) and by my son’s schoool (@lacertedsfm) and talked about what other students in our school and another school were up to. We also saw a tweet from our old principal (@marcpoirier) who left us last year in order to become the principal at a new school opening in Sage Creek. Finally, I showed my students Mme Rea’s tweet about needing pictures of trees. My students got excited as we headed outside to do this task in order to help another class! The students took some pictures as we walked around the school and we even recorded a little video saying hello to our new friends! Once we came back in, I unfortunately wasn’t able to get air server to work (darn new iOS update) so I wasn’t able to model to my class how to tweet these pictures and video, but I will next time!
I’m excited to see how proud my students will be when we hear back from Mme Rea’s class (which will happen since her and I have been in contact and are planning on collaborating further this year). Oh, the possibilities!
So, what’s my conclusion after this reflection? Let’s not just assume that our students are too young to use a certain tool or form of technology. And let’s not shy away from trying something new because we’re not sure what we’re doing. I am willing to bet that my students will teach me a thing or two on twitter this year and I’m not scared of that… This is how it should be: we all learn together and from one another! If we give our students the chance and the benefit of the doubt, they will surprise us in the best possible way! 🙂