Tag Archives: Twitter for Educators

Refreshing Your Kids’ Reading and Writing Lives in the New Year

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Written by Anna Gratz Cockerille

The start of a new calendar year brings a sense of renewal, possibility, and novelty.  It is a time for reflection, and certainly, as the number of people who make New Year’s resolutions shows, for goal-setting. 

Hopefully, your students (and you!) have returned from the break rested, recharged, and ready to reinvest. This is the perfect time to channel your students to reflect on their reading and writing lives and to make plans for the year ahead. 

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Twitter in the Classroom: Some Best Practices

Did you know educators are among the largest professional users of Twitter? Twitter can be a powerful tool for teachers. Whether it’s to utilize the service as a makeshift learning network, or to give your classroom a voice, Twitter has many educational uses. The social platform’s forced economy and relative ease-of-access can translate to the classroom with efficacy. Here are some ways Heinemann authors and teachers are using Twitter in the classroom.

Creating a Classroom Account

In Connecting Comprehension and Technology, authors Stephanie Harvey, Anne Goudvis, Katie Muhtaris, and Kristin Ziemke fold technology into the practices of the Comprehension Toolkit series. They write: “Each week we use Twitter to reflect on and share our new learning. I project the classroom Twitter account […] and students verbally share their reflections as I type them into the site and share with the world” (181).

A single classroom account is a hub of inquiry and extension. Depending on your initial framing, students can suggest other accounts to follow based on interests or events (the official NASA handle, for instance), supplementing whole group discussions.

Further reading:
Twitter in the Primary Classroom: Engage, Inspire, & Collaborate, an ebook by Kristen Wideen, elementary teacher and blogger at mrswideen.com.

Providing Venues for Inquiry and Connection

Twitter is also a great classroom tool for inquiry. With nearly half a billion users on Twitter, we can show in real-time that words have meaning. Try using Twitter to investigate a current event. Determine the primary voices and collate a list of Twitter handles to watch the news unfold from multiple angles. Sara Ahmed, author of Upstanders and current middle school teacher, aided student inquiry into the Syrian civil war: “I started searching on Twitter for anything and everything I could. I searched Syria, Syrian children, and Syrian refugees, and came across Camp Zeitouna and the hashtag #Play4Syria” (5). Sara’s class used online discussion to determine a course of charitable action through fundraising for Syrian children.

In 2014’s Thrive, Meenoo Rami lauded Twitter as a way to connect to diverse cultures and backgrounds. “The best work we do with students is real world; it isn’t about playing school with our students. The work we assign them and the work we do alongside them should be connected to their experience in the world” (40).

Further reading:
"Modeling Your Own Inquiry" from the Heinemann Blog
"Three Ways to Start Using Social Media in Your Reading Community Now," from Innovate, Ignite, Inspire, the new blog from authors Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke.

Helping to Build Empathy

In a recent #istelitchat, Katie Muhtaris (@literacyspark) wrote the following tweets:

With the internet’s myriad voices, students can learn to parse or synthesize viewpoints, thus developing empathy. As tweeted above, “authentic audience” transforms, and if students interact outside of their immediate community, the value of forming connections rises.

Getting Started and Going Further

Through Heinemann’s Digital Campus (an online Professional Development tool) we offer a free Twitter course for educators. Divided into seven parts and is approximately 45 minutes total duration, “Twitter for Educators” gets you started on the social platform, teaches you its intricacies and idiosyncrasies, and outfits you with the needed tools to participate in regular Twitter chats from the education community. More information can be found here: http://heinemann.com/products/DCOCN0014.aspx

Twitter for Educators online course

Heinemann Publishing is thrilled to share Twitter for Educators, a free mini course on our Digital Campus.

Twitter is a social media tool for sharing experiences, but it’s also an important professional development nexus for educators. In fact, educators are among the most frequent professional users of Twitter. As Heinemann author Christopher Lehman has said, “There is a great big conversation about the future of education happening on Twitter. If you’re not participating, how will you contribute?”

For some, getting started on Twitter can be intimidating, but it’s quite easy. If you can text, you can tweet! When you’re connected to a Heinemann author on Twitter, she or he is right there in your pocket.

Twitter for educatorsBrett Whitmarsh, Heinemann’s social media manager, designed and teaches the Twitter for Educators course. Before joining Heinemann, Brett spent a number of years teaching journalists how to use social media as a tool for journalism. He also teaches a social media and journalism course at Lyndon State College, in Vermont.

Using Heinemann’s authors and resources, Brett breaks down the Twitter terminology and points out its practical uses for educators. You’ll learn how to get started, become more familiar with the platform, and see how it can be used as a professional development tool.
Topics covered include:

•    Understanding Twitter terminology
•    Being aware of the differences between public and private accounts
•    Using Twitter handles
•    Understanding and using hashtags (#) for educators
•    Having an effective conversation on Twitter
•    Identifying a mentor author to follow and chat with
•    Participating in Twitter chats with other teachers and Heinemann authors

Take a look at a preview:

This free course is divided into eight parts and will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. All you have to do is sign up! To learn more about Heinemann’s Twitter for Educators online course, as well as other on-demand PD courses, visit the Digital Campus at: http://www.heinemann.com/digitalcampus/default.aspx