Tag Archive for twitter

Week in Review: Twitter

           Friday Dialogue from                

                                      Your Two Favorite Educators 

As Emily and Aubrey look back over the week they use their razor sharp wit to discuss twitter, tweets and Demi Moore. 

1.  Do you believe Twitter is a useful classroom tool?  How would you like to see it used in the classroom?

Emily:  My biggest concern lies in teachers using it only as a vehicle for reader-response reactions (“tweet your reaction to this piece” or “respond to the topic in 140 characters or less”).  Those things are important in a classroom; however, I think the requirement to synthesize and condense an answer is so much more meaningful for students.  To me, the most important skill is being able to answer a complex question (typically necessitating a multi-sentence answer) into 140 characters.  That is Twitter in my dream educational setting.

Aubrey: I would agree.  I want to see if students can make complicated arguments concisely.  I think 140 characters holds them accountable.  I also think that they spend more time revising and reworking their tweets because of the 140 character box.  Such a feat cannot go unnoticed. Attention must be paid.

2.  Who do you follow on Twitter?

Emily:  I do subscribe to news sources like The Washington Post and The New York Times, sources that give me a nice overview of what is happening in the world; however, I love celebrities and primarily use this as an approved and accepted form of voyeurism!  I of course follow Chris Harrison of the Bachelor (he always writes good tweets during episodes!) and Kim K. However, my favorite Twitter-lebrity is Ocho Cinco (formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, now with the team that shall not be mentioned).  His tweets are priceless.

Aubrey: I really like @Slate’s tweets.  But to be honest, I really want funny tweets.  I obsessively check @davepell, @idislikestephen and @nprmonkeysee. Those three always make me snort, laugh and learn.

3.  If you could have any Twitter handle what would it be?

Emily:  Hmm…this is tough.  Realistically, I wouldn’t want anything.  For me, it isn’t about tweeting.  It is about following.  Any suggestions?

Aubrey: Well in light of the conversations this week about whether or not Demi Moore should change her twitter handle from @mrskutcher and in light of Hemingway’s stellar track record with marriage it seems fairly obvious: @theonlymrshemingway.

Twitter: Research Tool

Teaching students how and where to research can be painful. They struggle to evaluate credibility and they chafe at the amount of time real research demands.  In reality, students should be engaged in some form of research all year. The thought of this makes most teachers shudder, myself included.  Constant research, large or small, is a classroom necessity and not just because the Common Core Standards demand it.

Research makes students better thinkers and better writers.  So the question arises: How can students be engaged in constant research without struggle or burden for all involved?

The answer? Twitter.

Now I know how this potentially sounds. Lindsay Lohan updates and trending hashtags about #basketballslang don’t really inspire teachable moments.   But what can easily get lost in celebrity updates is Twitter as a significant resource for current events.  Every major publication tweets—multiple times a day.  What results is a brief overview of a topic and a link to a story.  It is in essence a ready made “feed” for student research.


1,  Determine how students will access tweets that allow for research/reading on current issues and topics.

  • You may decide to use your own Twitter account for the classroom and retweet a series of “stories” from which students can choose. This offers you more control over what they read.
  • Or you may ask that they follow a series of reputable publications.  From the tweets of those “teacher sanctioned” publications they may do their own current events research.

Some publications for classroom use:

  1. Have students explore tweets and articles.  You may choose to do this inside or outside of class.  Consider asking students to read and evaluate several articles if time allows.
  1. Have students favorite and retweet topics of interest.  For each favorite/retweet, ask students to post a follow up tweet.  The “follow up” should be an argument for the value of the professional article.

4.  Consider this as a constant exercise much like journaling.  You can use it          to produce a 60-second speech or a research driven project/paper.

Tomorrow: Twitter as Essential Questioning Tool 

Twitter: Overview

I’ve spent the last two days trying to find a clever way to overview Twitter.   In an effort to establish myself as a reputable resource I’ve read Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s tweets, rewatched Josh Groban singing Kanye West’s tweets and discovered “sweets” by We Sing Your Tweets.  It’s easy to plummet down the rabbit hole.  So many people, posts, links, chatter, retweets, favorites, lists, twitpics.  You can see how some could view Twitter as a vast sea of self-publishing for the self-important.

And yet, Twitter is more than celebrity feuds, divorces and lunches. Tweets can be invaluable resources for teaching #occupywallstreet, satire, Steve Jobs, writing with voice, etc. Tweets can teach concision, engage quiet students in classroom discussion, be a forum for creating thesis statements.

This past summer Scott McLeod (one of the minds behind Shift Happens) posted on Big Think an “open letter” to educators about the value of Twitter.   Used correctly it’s a stream of resources that showcase effective classroom practices and a learning community for teachers and students.  But navigating Twitter is daunting and difficult for the best of us. That’s why it’s good to have help.  Below I’ve listed some of the most useful links for getting Twitter up and running in your classroom.

Digitally Speaking Twitter Resources & Video Tutorials

Twitter Handle: @plugusin

This is a series of video tutorials and guides that help with navigating the setup of a twitter account.  They are incredibly helpful if you are new to Twitter.

The Daring Librarian’s Wikipage on Educational Twittering

Twitter Handle: @gwynethjones

A significant “library” of links to posts and information about everything from Twitter accounts to hashtags. 

Cybrary Man’s Twitter Resources

Twitter Handle: @cybraryman1

A page chock full of links that all discuss how to implement Twitter in the classroom.  This is an invaluable page if you understand Twitter and you’re looking for ideas and “extras.” 

You may, as you read through, decide that you’d like your students to create their own “private” and locked Twitter account only for educational use. This means they follow only you.  You might also ask their names as twitter handles (or some appropriate version of their name/initials) so you can easily determine who is commenting.

Tomorrow: Twitter as personal narrative.

Weekend Tech: Tweets are #funny

Twitter is funny.  Actually, The Onion’s tweets are funny.  And idislikestephen, and monkeysee, and David Pell, and…you get the point.  I troll Twitter looking for my humorous “tweet” fix on a semi-regular basis.  I’m not sure it’s as bad as my coffee problem, but it’s a habit.

The New York Times ran a story this past Sunday entitled Writer’s New Form: Tweet-Up Comedy.  It’s a great read about how writers for late night talk shows use Twitter as their testing ground for zingers.  It is entirely possible, after reading it, that I spent several hours on Twitter scouring these types of tweets while snorting in an incredibly unattractive way. Read more

Weekend Tech: Steve Jobs

Everybody was talking about it and by everybody I mean all of my students.  I expect them to discuss reality television, the NBA lockout, even homecoming requests on Facebook.   But I don’t expect detailed conversations about Steve Jobs.  Not from high schoolers. And certainly not in a meaningful way.  But the way they talked about Jobs got me thinking.  They were right.  The reaction in the last several days has been remarkable.

Teaching is about opportunity presenting itself and this a chance to for meaningful discussion, writing, analysis, anotation. Having students study/discuss these online “memorials” teaches a variety of skills: media literacy, memorializing in modern culture, the impact of social media, our “relationship” to public figures, the importance of technology, technology innovation and so on.   All of it’s critical thinking.  Who are we as a society in relationship to this loss?  This weekend I’ll post some of the best “remembrances” for classroom use.

Pitch Me Another: Apple’s Ads
The New Yorker’s Back Issues blog put together a retrospective of Apple advertising spanning the last several decades. It’s great especially the advertisement from 1984.  An easy way to do evaluate advertising, assess a change over time in audience expectations, even print advertising’s use of word choice.

Twitter’s Top Trending Topics: #iSad and #thankyousteve

The the word choice in the hashtags alone is meaningful.  iSad sounds so much like loneliness.  Like loss.  Like grief.  Even I can barely stand it and thankyousteve sounds almost like the closing of a letter or email or text.  Now perhaps I’ve been manipulated by all the media coverage too but it is fascinating.  The language is meaningful and economical.  Consider class discussion, writing prompt, or big picture analysis.

Here are some useful tweets:

David Pell 

Mark Zuckerberg


NPR’s Monkey See