Twitter is a great way to have interactive communication with a large or small group of people at once. (Follow me on Twitter) In the past I’ve presented ideas about using Twitter and Pownce as tools for collaborative writing. Briefly my idea was to use Twitter to start a creative writing story and have each student add a sentence to the story. Click here or here to read my previous thoughts about using microblogging application with students.
Today, Christopher Dawson who writes for ZDNet has posted a great story about introducing his high school students to Twitter. In a nutshell, he introduced his physics class to Twitter and now the students are using it to collaborate and share ideas for a rocketry project.
Applications for Education
Twitter and other microblogging services are good tools for getting students to quickly share thoughts and ideas without the pressure to make things look good or sound good on the first attempt. Just the other day I had a conversation with a student who is very bright, but is refusing to participate in an upcoming mock debate in my 9th grade World Studies class because she doesn’t want to “sound stupid”. While using Twitter won’t necessarily make that student participate in the debate, it will provide another avenue through which she can voice her thoughts. Perhaps I’ll have this student Twitter her thoughts and ideas during the debate and react to comments. (From a pedagogical stand point I do recognize that this student needs to learn public speaking skills, but the point of this mock debate is more to get the students to think about a public policy issue than it is to teach public speaking).
For those of you concerned with online safety and having students create profiles, Youth Twitter is a good alternative to Twitter.
Here is a short explanation of Twitter.