This is a post that I have written many, many times before and I wanted this one to be as current and relevant as possible. The brief I have been given is to look at how Twitter helps me. I use Twitter in a number of ways and I thought I should share these as the different uses may help you to see how Twitter can work for you.
Firstly, why Twitter? I still get people saying that Twitter is about celebrities and finding out what people had for breakfast, but it is so much more than that. For example, if you go into a newsagents (or the magazine section of a supermarket if newsagents are not available near you) you can find out about celebrities there by picking up Heat, OK or Take a Break. But if you look around a bit you can also see magazines to help with photography, or some that review films or others that help you get into shape. Twitter is similar. Yes you could go and follow celebrities and find out what they are up to but you could also follow footballers, comedians, chefs or teachers. Of course you could follow a mixture of different people to make it even more interesting.
The majority of the people I follow are teachers, trainee teachers, consultants and other people related to education but I also follow accounts such as @fascinatingpics to see some amazing photos of the world. There are a few comedians in there too.
So how will listening to a load of teachers (what is the collective noun for teachers?) help my teaching? Firstly, it is great to ‘get out there’ and see/hear what others are doing. Often in school we struggle to find time to see what other teachers within our own school are up to, let alone the one down the road but Twitter gives me a tiny window into some other classrooms around the country and around the world. These teachers might be talking about a great lesson they taught, discussing an upcoming topic or blogging about something that they’re doing.
Once connected with a selection of teachers, it is possible to join conversations or ask questions. To give a recent example, I have an able Year 3-4 maths group. Many children are 4a-4c at the end of the year and I wanted to look for some projects that would challenge them and bring together a range of different maths abilities. We recently ran businesses (http://stjohnsblogs.co.uk/blog/running-a-business/) but I wanted to try something else. So I tweeted to ask for suggestions and within two hours I had:
- Escape from school! Look at timetables, routes, prices and map your journey
- Make a book/website/test paper to help others practise their maths skills
- Look at code-breaking
- Probability with revels – http://primary-ideas.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/revelling-in-probability.html
- Building a share portfolio – http://primary-ideas.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/stock-market-maths.html
- Design a board game
- Furnish a house using the Argos catalogue, look at financing, drawing scale diagrams etc
There are some fab ideas here and with a bit of tweaking and matching some objectives, we should have a fantastic half-term ahead of us. I think the stock market is the first stop! I wonder if the children will make more ‘money’ than I will.
This shows a quick, simple way of using Twitter to help with lesson ideas. There are many more examples that I have used in the past. These include asking people to tweet suggestions for areas to research when looking at Greece (http://ianaddison.net/a-lesson-on-twitter/).
More Twitter-based uses can be found on my blog, under Social Media – http://ianaddison.net/index/
I have changed my use of Twitter over time, but I find it a great way of communicating with other people within education. I hope you find it useful too.
Year 3-4 Class Teacher
Blog – www.ianaddison.net
Twitter – @ianaddison