Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Introducing Twitter

"I can see how excited you all are about what you discovered about our town."  I said to my third graders as we recalled our visit to the Historical Society that October morning.  "How would you like to share your discoveries with other people outside of our classroom?"  Excited yesses filled the air quickly followed by confusion.

"Who would we share with?  The entire third grade went and saw and heard the same things we did."  Zach asked.  The other children nodded in agreement.  This is when I suggested to them that we share with people who aren't in the third grade.  People who may not even be in school.  I suggested that they share with the world.  Perplexed, they looked at me longing for clarification.  This is when I asked, "What do you know about Twitter?"

"It's like Facebook, isn't it?" Jenna hesitantly asked.

"My mom won't let me have an account," said Brandon.

"I have to be friends with my dad on Facebook or I can't use it," said Gio.

But mostly, the students said they nothing about it.  Now knowing that many of them were familiar with Facebook we began our conversation there.  A few shared that they had Facebook accounts.  A couple said that their parents had Facebook accounts.  Others said that they knew people talked to their friends and family on Facebook.  "You're right," I said, "Facebook is a great place for people to connect with their friends and family.  That's what I use it for.  Twitter is similar, but used for a different type of connection.  Twitter has changed my life."  I paused, dramatically, intending to build excitement about this unfamiliar space.  Once I saw they were hooked to know more I continued.

I went on to explain to these eager learners how I use Twitter to learn from other teachers.  They share resources and ideas about teaching.  A lot of things which we had already done in the classroom or will do.  I explained that I do the same thing for other teachers.  "We are so lucky," I continued, "because each of us have a twitter account."  They were utterly excited.  Because we have a classroom Twitter account, the children were familiar with how to post.  But the way we used it as a class was more like a facebook page, updating our learning status and sharing our experiences.  This, they knew, was going to be different.