How can I best use Twitter in a Primary School?
Have any of you found inventive or imaginative ways to use Twitter in a primary school setting? Its a website that I would like to acclimatise our children to, but am struggling to find practical uses for. Perhaps combining it with use of the iPad bank to allow for a twitter feed of question in complex lessons such as PSHE or science.
2 experts and 3 parents have answered
Sounds like you have a solution in search of a problem :)
I know of a couple of interesting uses Twitter has been put to in HE and FE, but personally I would avoid encouraging the use of Twitter with young children. A lot of adults run into trouble with Twitter's false sense of privacy/intimacy; throwing young kids into such a public forum would be a bit of a baptism of fire. If you just want personal messaging functionality, other software will work just as well without leaving behind a permanent record for the world to see.
One of the raspberry pI manuals has a script to talk to twitter adn send tweets it is possible to use the gpio and python to detect when a switch is pressed, and display on the screen, there is no reason why it can't send a tweet instead,
However you could simply get it to send an e-mail, as there is an e-mail script too.
I think its the Pi education manual, that does this using the twitter libraries, the ocr stuff has something similar but I think that just reads tweets,
As long as the API is available you can communicate with anything I guess. People have raised concerns, well this is a BIG teaching point suggest the above and debate the pros / cons of this, getting the kids to think is a good skill to develop.
we could do this but ....
I'd second Joseph. One of the challenges with Twitter is that the full stream is completely public, and there is no way to filter the content before it gets displayed to your class. This makes it a tricky tool for young children. Twitter is a great way to get information but you can think of it as putting your class in front of a very sweary 24-hour news channel. Some of that content just won't be age appropriate.
One thing you can do with Twitter and your class is show how it's a great way engage with politicians, experts and professionals with you providing a filter. Set up a Twitter profile for your class that you manage completely independently of the kids, and ask them who they want to follow and what questions they want to ask. You can then Tweet these questions and if you get any answers, print them out and put them on a board in the classroom. This way you can show them the power of using social media tools like Twitter to engage with amazing, intelligent people all over the world... while protecting them from the less amazing, intelligent ones ;).
I would recommend using it in part to communicate maybe with parents? Personally I think something more private like Ning might be more appropriate just because it is easy to miss a couple tweets but I'd definitely see using it to promote a project if you are raising money for the class/school and other things that include the broader public input.
If you just want to teach them about asking questions and getting responses though you could also use it that way. Come up with intelligent questions to ask perhaps?
I would recommend it as a broadcast medium to give pupils an authentic audience and to share with parents and community. I know of many schools and classes doing just that and very successfully. It can also be a useful vehicle through which to deliver some important esafety messages. Also, bear in mind that Twitter's Terms stipulate a 13 yr old age limit on the actual sending of tweets so an adult should be reviewing any tweets and be responsible for the 'sending'.