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Twitter in Education: Considerations & Possibilities


Presented by: Holly Rae Bemis-Schurtz & Laura Grant, NM State University …

Presented by: Holly Rae Bemis-Schurtz & Laura Grant, NM State University
New Mexico Technology in Education Conference October 2009

Educators around the world are utilizing Twitter as a personal learning environment, but how else can microblogging be used in education? From K12 to Higher Education, we will present the possibilities of Twitter and alternative tools in both instructional and student support contexts. We’ll share examples of how elementary, secondary and higher education faculty and institutions are using microblogging to augment communication in thoughtful ways, but we won’t stop there. Social media tools like this require important safety and security considerations as well as outcomes based planning. Join us and identify issues and strategies you’ll need to know about Twitter for educational purposes.

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  • Shelly Blake-Plock
  • Direct communication linkIncreased sense of collaboration Students work together to produce updates and informationShare important moments and reflections on classroom learning


  • 1. Twitter in EducationConsiderations & Possibilities
    Holly Rae Bemis-Schurtz @hollyraehollyrae@nmsu.edu
    Laura Grant
  • 2. A way of …microsharing
    A form of …micromedia
    • 140 characters
    • 3. a ‘headline’ of one’s status
    • 4. shared with followers
    • 5. often using @replies
    • 6. Generates a stream
  • http://www.twitter.com
  • 7.
  • 8. #hashtag
    RT - retweet
  • 9. Overview
    Higher Education
    Secondary Education
    Elementary Education
    Outcomes Based Approach
    Safety & Security
    Alternative Tools
  • 10. Higher EducationPossibilities
  • 11. Educators
    Disburse information
  • 12.
  • 13. Educators
  • 14.
  • 15. Educators
  • 16. Student support
  • 17. Instruction
  • 18. Educators
    Fostering a decentralized network
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21. Educators
    Having a plan
  • 22. “We are @nmsu a group of students and staff members..”
    Follow @nmsu
    Who @nmsu follows
    Improve @nmsu
    Team members
    Current updates
    Other NMSU personas
  • 23. Secondary EducationPossibilities
  • 24. What are we looking for?
  • 25. News and Updates
  • 26. Attendance? Vocabulary?... ru 4 real?
  • 27. Idealized Backchannel
    S1: In Bio listening to a great lecture on cell division. She ROCKS!
    S2: Reading "Chapter 7" for Mr Wilson. Not my favorite so far but I'll get through it
    S3: Great quote from Mr B: "History is written by the winners." He said it's not his original quote, tho’
    S4: @S1 Mrs D is awesome! Looking forward to 5th period when I'll hear it, too
    S4: @S2 Tell me about it. I've got to read it tonight. But I'm a fast reader.
    S2: Anyone know a good website to help me to understand Chapter 7?
    S1: @S3 Yeah, I heard that quote before, too. Hold on and I'll look it up for you.
    From Twitter with Students? @jgates513
  • 28. Possible Backchannel?
    S1: wht's 4 lunch? I'm staving!S2: NFW I'm readg that @#$ Chapter 7. Hes got 2 B Sh*ttin' me!S3: "History is writn by th winners?" DUH!S4: I get out of her class 5th period, dude! S*cks 2 B U!S4: @S1 its only 9:30 dude! U cnt B hungry alrdy U pig!S2: Any1 know if any of ths @#$% in Ch 7 will B on the test?S1: @S3 No duh! Who ELSE wld write it. Hes so lame!
    From Twitter with Students? @jgates513
  • 29. Collaborative Research
    http://socialtechineducation.wikispaces.com/ from @teachpaperless
  • 30. Collaborative Assessment
    Students have access to texts and translation tools
    Allowed to use Twitter to ask questions and offer help
    Instructor can listen and contribute if assistance is needed
    Each student translates a different part of the passage
    One score to entire class as long as equal contributions to the hashtag
    Students shared resources and translations by linking to blogs
    All discussion had to take place on Twitter.
    http://teachpaperless.blogspot.com from @teachpaperless
  • 31. A few more ideas for Secondary Education
    Collaborative writing
    Collaborative research
    Real time reflections
    Communicate with subject matter experts
    Follow or research live events
    Providing ‘lifeline’ assistance/support
    Opt in text notifications
    Easy web page updates
  • 32. Elementary EducationPossibilities
  • 33. Parent ‘IMHO’
    "I guess my point is (IMHO) if I found out that my 6th grader's school time was being used to learn about Twitter, MySpace, or any other social tool, that school would be getting a rather terse phone call from me. Teach my kid math, english, history, etc. I'll teach him about twitter etc....when I think he's ready and so that I can set boundaries…” Fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-gross/embracing-the-twitter-cla_b_204463.html
  • 34. School Presence
  • 35. Classroom Presence Possibiliites
    Opt in network for parents and family members
    Send reminders about homework or announcements
    Microblog of classroom events
  • 36. Collaborative Writing
  • 37. !
    Safety & SecurityConsiderations
  • 38.
  • 39. @PawLuxury
  • 40. Considerations about Twitter itself
    API Vulnerabilities
    Google Results
    Location Awareness
  • 41. Responsible Use Considerations
    What else will students do with this?
    What policies are in place?
    Cyberbulling committee, anonymous reporting
    Responsible use agreement
    Parental consent, student assent
    How will account(s) be administered?
    Blocking, following, privacy
  • 42. !
    Outcomes Based ApproachConsiderations
  • 43. Define parameters & goals
    What is the purpose of the account?
    Determine outcomes, norms, parameters
    What links, names, locations should be shared (if any)?
    Consider limiting information in your profile’s bio
    Who can follow (if private) and how will that be managed?
    What will happen on vacation, breaks, nights or weekends?
    Higher Ed example @nmsu
  • 44. Prepare to stay involved & immersed
    Monitor/listen to your brand or community
    Research your integration of search and search widgets (ongoing)
    Change account name when necessary
    Be mindful of password access or third party access (ie: Twitpic email address)
    Listening Engines
    * http://www.socialmention.com/
    * http://search.twitter.com/
    * http://www.whostalkin.com/
    * http://www.samepoint.com/
  • 45. Know your tools!
    Be familiar with the support documentation.
  • 46. Include & inform stakeholders
    Acceptable/responsible use
    Parental consent
    Student assent
    Administrational approval
    Responsible and transparent classroom use will require your advocacy!
  • 47. !
    Alternative ToolsConsiderations
  • 48. Private account with GroupTweet
  • 49. Grouptweet Insiderview
    d @pvia great class today!
    = via @hollyrae: great class today!
    • Ability to create a private conversation
    • 50. Attribution is included
    • 51. Support presence on Twitter
    • Delays in posting
    • 52. Use may require training
  • Alternatives Rock
  • 53. Consider the size of the conversation
  • 54. Additional microblogging networks
    Enterprise (domain based)
    White Label
    Open Source
    Created with http://www.wordle.net
  • 55. Twitter for Education ! ? …
    Twitter has safety and security liabilities
    Safety and security is a moving target
    Requires a strong & ongoing commitment
    Alternative tools can support many of the benefits with fewer safety considerations
  • 56. Questions & Comments
    Holly Rae Bemis-Schurtz @hollyraehollyrae@nmsu.edu
    Laura Grant