Twits are (not?) for kids

I keep two blogs. My other blog Masterthoughts is where I chronicle my personal learning journey through my Master’s program, struggle through learning issues, and generally find my way. I appreciate feedback and discourse at Masterthoughts, although sometimes it is good enough to just get my thoughts on the virtual paper.

This blog is for my contribution to the network – I think of it as more outward facing and hopefully engaging. But sometimes my blogs cross over. Yesterday I posted Twitted, Tweets and Young Learners that in the end could find its way here. So here is where I’ll continue the thread.

I had three more encounters today about K-12 and Twitter. On my commute, I listened to a recent Podcast from EdTEch Posse about Twitter. The key message is that Twitter is meaningless without a network, and not just any network. It must be a network that is willing to share, to engage, to provoke, to discuss. No surprise, just the essence of learning. Tonight in ECI831 Clarence Fisher talked about backchanneling in a K-12 classroom (middle school). And the IT Guy at techlearning.com talked about Twitter as “something to be very aware of in our schools” in part because it “also allows much faster spreading of rumors”.

I’ve taken from these that the jury is still out on Twitter in the K-12 classroom. Here are some of the issues:
1. Classroom management. Do you know where your students are? But let’s be realistic, many high school students are already texting in class – why not make it about learning?
2. Appropriateness. I’ve deliberately avoided the safety label for this issue. It is more about providing age-appropriate environments.
3. The network. Students micro-blogging with each other in a K-12 classroom might as well be on their friend’s Facebook page. Without a reach outside the classroom there is no power in the network.
4. Purposefulness. Curriculum-centred but not curriculum-bound.

Framing the issues is only a starting point. Where to next? Let’s talk!

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6 Responses

  1. […] 4, 2008: I’ve continued this thread on Technology for Learning. Please join me there.] […]

  2. I think there are some educational benefits to using Twitter. For instance, limiting some tweets to 140 characters requires a great deal of summarizing (even synthesizing, on occasion) on my part. Often times it’s more difficult to write less. Brevity is an acquired skill for many.

    I agree that networking is vital. I’m not interested in following everyone. I quit following those that tweet about things that not of interest to me. Thus, you can easily make your Twitter experience whatever you want it to be.

  3. I agree with Clif that the limiting of writing to 140 characters could be used for summarizing skills, but with it also leads to horrible grammar skills (even for us English teachers!). There is a new Youth Twitter available, but I haven’t looked closely at it yet. My gut tells me that without the ability to multi-task on the site (read, watch videos, look at pictures,etc), Twitter may never really catch on for most young people. The cell phone is much easier place to work for them. Even kids without computers or Internet access at home have the latest cell phone with seemingly unlimited texting abilities. I love Twitter for my educator network, but the jury is still out for me concerning adolescent use.

  4. […] Twits Are (Not?) for Kids […]

  5. Hello, wondered if you had seen this: http://www.youthtwitter.com/ Seems interesting as a twitter like space for students

  6. First I heard of it was a request to follow. And I wondered why a twitter space for students would be interested in following a lot of adults.

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