Class to Class Student Discussions on Twitter and other Social Media.

In October of 2010 someone suggested making a list of educators willing to have a class to class online twitter discussions. So I put out a survey to my twitter educator colleagues to see if any of them would be interested in having online discussions with students. In a relatively short amount of time we had a couple of dozen on the list.
Immediately, I scanned the list to see where the different educators were from. Most were from the US but there were a couple form Canada and the UK. Then I saw one from Pakistan and Serbia. So I sent her a message and waited.
For those who misunderstand twitter, it is so much more than checking to see what Aston Cutcher eat for breakfast. Twitter is also more than posting what you ate for breakfast. No one cares on both accounts. Twitter is an awesome way to connect with 1000s of educators across the world. We are constantly sharing ideas, web sites, articles, policies, and many other tools. It has been the most valuable personal professional development tool ever! (TJ Houston @tjhouston made a site to help facilitate class to class twitter and skype discussions http://c2ctweetup.com/
While trying to connect with Katherine Maloney in Pakistan, Twitter ID @1katty, I was able to connected with Mr. Akerson from St. Louis MO Twitter ID @MrA47. Mr. Akerson and I were able to get our students connected. He is a jr. high/middle school teacher. His students do not have twitter accounts, so to participate in the discussion his students took turns using his computer to answer and ask questions. My students (high school) all have twitter accounts and where having a blast talking with the younger kids. The discussion was about life in high school. The conversation went really well. The students were mature and polite.
Later, I came in contact with Jesse Moland, @jessemoland, an educator in Baton Rouge, LA. We decided to have the discussion using an online application called http://www.todaysmeet.com. It is a microblog/chatroom site that allows you to make a chat room with a specific URL to share with all those who want to chat. Individuals simple go to the URL then type there name in the box then click join and your in. This is a great tool because it updates quickly, and the chat can be archived by copy and pasting it to a document.
Unfortunately because of snow day conflicts we were unable to have the discussion with Mr. Moland’s students. We hope to reschedule in the next couple of weeks.
Finally, Katherine Maloney (teacher in Pakistan)  and I were able to work out a discussion time. In fact, the first discussion was three days ago. The topic voted on by students was “student’s voice and say in the school.” My students came in before school to have the discussion because the Lahore American School in Pakistan is 11 hours ahead of us. As a result of the time change one class would need to be at computers outside of class time.
Katherine asked if we could have another discussion two days later during her school’s technology open house. The second discussion we decided to try to address cultural stereotypes. The principal of the school Mr. Tangeman and a parent also participated in the  conversation. It was really cool to see the excitement in my students as they were able to have a discussion online with a students on the other side of the planet.
I can see this project going a long way to helping my students understand different parts of our country and the world. With the right online tools students are not limited to learning from a book or the teacher in the room. The world and the people living on it become the classroom and the teacher.***
@tjhouston and I ran into each other on twitter and TJ built a site to help with the pursuit of online class to class discussions.  http://c2ctweetup.com/. Contact us with questions @tjhouston and @2footgiraffe.

Twitter resources –
http://screenr.com/Kcz – Twitter basics.
http://prezi.com/8swscbqifpg3/twitter-and-how-it-works/ Prezi of how Twitter works.
http://screenr.com/dyu You don’t have to tweet to use Twitter.
http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Practical-Advice/26416 Great advice for using Twitter in education.
http://www.cybraryman.com/twitter.html Be all end all of Twitter links.

Comments encouraged.

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About 2footgiraffe

High School Science Teacher Dickson, TN
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7 Responses to Class to Class Student Discussions on Twitter and other Social Media.

  1. Katherine says:

    Nice post, Jeff 🙂 I look forward to another exchange soon!

  2. Shan says:

    Hi Adam,
    Thanks for sharing the detailed articles in your blog.
    Nice to know about your experiments.
    Cheers
    Shan

  3. Judy says:

    Like the idea of connecting classes via Twitter. Also, helpful for students who live in countries where English is not the native language, as only short tweets are needed. Wish I could join in, but I teach teachers in a graduate computer education course. I will be sure to tell them about the project. Class met in the fall, and resumes May-June. Helpful to find teachers like you to show as models to others.

    • 2footgiraffe says:

      Agreed, 140 characters makes it easy to keep it simple.
      Might I suggest having your teachers participate in a class to class twitter discussion. I’m sure we could find another graduate course with teachers. Might be a great way to introduce those teachers to the power of social media (if they don’t already know).

  4. Matt says:

    Just a quick question. Would you consider your students to be from an inner city or urban area? If so, do you think this has any positive or negative impact on their response to your use of Twitter in the classroom?

    I ask because I will be starting a Masters in Urban Ed. this June in Memphis and am very interested in this as a teaching tool.

    • 2footgiraffe says:

      Yes, we are considered an urban, inner city school. Twitter in the classroom has helped me engage all students. Clickers are great but when the students have computers they are able to give qualitative answers to questions. It has also helped students who are otherwise extremely shy. These students never raise their hand but with twitter they can simply type in a question during lecture and I can respond without them saying a word. In fact sometimes other students will answer the question via twitter. So not only does it help to get all students participating but it also helps create positive feed back and support among the students themselves. One of the local news channels can and did a story on Twitter in class. http://bit.ly/2011taylorvid2
      Hope this helps. Would love to support you anyway I can.

  5. uksuperiorpapers says:

    I would argue that a Flipped Class is not the silver bullet for education. It works in some settings to help increase motivation and achievement, but I would not default to a flipped class in every single situation.

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