Tag Archives: Twitter

To Tweat or Not to Tweat

So Twitter can have value to learning in the classroom, but how?

We’re studying rocketry and just getting started with blogging and tweeting this year.  I wanted to demonstrate how we could reach out to experts.  So, I asked what questions we had for Astronaut Clay Anderson.  A student was curious about what Zero G feels like.  We tweeted and later that day, students were thrilled to see we had received a tweet back.  One simple exchange.  We had just exchanged a message with an astronaut.

It made me wonder, what about other fields? Meteorology. Zoology. Geology.  How would I find these experts?  Then, I came across a list “100 Scientists on Twitter: Organized by Category.”   What if Twitter is not just a tool to connect with other classrooms, but to connect with experts in the field? Powerful.

So, you might be wondering, how do I get started?

Want to have a classroom chat that kids can have individual accounts in a small, classroom environment? Allow kids to start out with a version of Twitter that is only available in your classroom? Try Twiducate.  At the end of the day, ask every student to tweet what they’ve learned.  Twitter allows you to share with the world, Twiducate allows your kids to share with each other.

Want to work with your kids to develop Social Media Norms?  Have a class discussion about what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate to share.  Build a classroom community where kids support each other.  Whether sending a tweet from a classroom account on Twitter, or an individual account on Twiducate, help students understand that if you wouldn’t shout it in a crowded shopping mall, you shouldn’t share it on social media!  Post the norms.  Watch how kids take ownership in what they’ve decided upon as their norms.

Wondering how you will fit in time to tweet?  You may be thinking, I don’t have time to add one more thing to my classroom.  Ask one kid to take on the role each day or week.  Give him or her a “Media” badge.  Allow him to share what’s happening, 140 at a time.

Thinking about how you will find other classrooms that tweet?  Don’t worry!  I’m building a Twitter list.  Pick one or two to get started with.  You don’t have to follow hundreds of classrooms to get started.  Start small. Chat with a class in Australia or Illinois or your own school.

This is the second in a series of posts on using Twitter in the classroom.  Next up, five ways to use Twitter in the classroom. Our class tweets at @greatdaytolearn. Our Google Doc “Classrooms That Tweet” is growing everyday!  If your class is on Twittter, please add your name! If you’d like to get connected, check out the Twitter list “Classrooms That Tweet!

This post was originally published at Venspired.com September 9, 2012. Blogger and gifted teacher Krissy Venosdale has graciously given permission for us to share her work here on NT&L. Be sure to jump over to Venspired to see what else Krissy is doing with her students.

I Tweat. Therefore, I Learn

I Tweet.
I tweeted one request, “Please share your location and current outdoor temperature with my class today.”   Throughout the day, the tweets poured in from Australia, Sweden, Spain, New Jersey, Brazil, and the list goes on.  As I shared with students, they looked at the temperatures and their questions reminded me that using Twitter as a connection point with the world has true value for learning.

  • Why are some of the temperatures being reported in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit?
  • How do I convert a Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit? Is there a formula for that?
  • Why is it so cold in Australia right now?
  • What time is it in Sweden?
  • They just said “Morning”, what time is it there?
  • Can we put these on a map so we can see how much of the world we covered?
  • How do I pin something on a Google map?

Time zones. Patterns. Data. Metric System. Weather. Google map creation. Geography. Continents. Temperature conversion. Collaboration. The world.  Learning.  From one tweet.

I’m not saying that tweeting automatically equals learning.  But, look what happens when tweeting (or any tech tool!) is used in the classroom to connect.  Real thinking and learning.  The kind where kids deepen their understand of the world around them.

This is the first in a series of posts.  Next?  The day we tweeted an astronaut and he tweeted us back. For real. Our class tweets at @greatdaytolearn. Our Google Doc “Classrooms That Tweet” is growing everyday!  If your class is on Twittter, please add your name! If you’d like to get connected, check out the Twitter list “Classrooms That Tweet!

This post was originally published at Venspired.com September 8, 2012. Blogger and gifted teacher Krissy Venosdale has graciously given permission for us to share her work here on NT&L. Be sure to jump over to Venspired to see what else Krissy is doing with her students.

Staying Connected & Collaborating

School is out for summer (unless of course you are teaching summer school) and you might be finding that you miss those colleagues you normally see day to day. Your normal routine of getting to talk with, share your classroom ideas and success, and bounce ideas off of for some upcoming projects has been put on hold but does it really have to stop. I say no!!!

Click for Source

Why not check out some virtual options? Tools like Edmodo, Facebook, and Twitter can help you to continue your collegial collaboration, stay connected, and possibly take it a step further. You might even extend your normal summertime routines to include expanding your professional learning with a little lightly structured, informal PD.What’s better…they are free tools and are easy to use.

Edmodo is a great option for setting up a virtual classroom or collaborative sharing space (they call these groups). Everyone in your group will need to create an account (FYI adults are considered Teachers and kids are Students) One person will need to create the Group and then share the Code Edmodo creates with everyone that will be a part of that group. Then let the sharing begin. Resource links and documents are easy to share as well as basic communications. Check out the Edmodo Help page for help getting started or attend a Webinar for more ideas and support. I attended a webinar last week and got a lot of great ideas for not only the teachers that I train but also for schools and organizations that I work with.

Facebook Groups are another option for sharing and learning from others. eMINTS has their own Facebook group where these Networked Teaching & Learning posts are shared but also other resources. Anyone belonging to the group can share on the eMINTS group page as well. Members can add posts, links, share photos/video, conduct polls, and upload files. If your team members already have Facebook accounts and are ready for an group online presence to do these kinds of things, maybe creating a Facebook Group is the answer for you. If you need some help there are very easy steps to follow and you can even set privacy settings to allow only your Friends in your group. Learn more about Facebook Groups from Facebook or from a post from Zac back in August 2011.

Twitter offers an even easy way to connect with no need to create pages or groups on a different website. Basically all that needs to happen is that each person in your collaborative circle needs to have a Twitter account. You each need to share your usernames and “follow” each other. Start by sharing your thoughts, ideas, opinions, resources, tools, and inspirations and watch your Wwitter homepage for what others are sharing back. With Twitter there is no pressure or need to be wordy, chatty, long-winded, etc…all you need are 140 characters. Need some help with Twitter? Check out their support page for basic support and more.

With all of these tools it does take some discipline and conscious effort to be a productive member but as long as everyone shares a little you can all learn a lot.

What are some things you are collaborating on this summer and what tools work for your group?

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialists for the eMINTS National Center.

Life Class, Oprah, and eMINTS-Part 1

A few days ago, a friend called me and said, “Hey do you like Oprah?”

I said, “Yes!”

“My battery on my phone is dying, but I have a ticket for you for Monday night!  I’ll call later.”

For a few days, it didn’t sink in.  I was going to Oprah!  I received an email with the details about the show, what to wear, what to bring, what not to bring etc.  As the time got closer, I got more and more excited!  I was going to see Oprah!!!!!

As we entered the Peabody Theater, I was overwhelmed with the excitement and energy in the building!  This was going to be a great night!  I had no idea how inspiring the evening would be or how much Oprah connected with components of the eMINTS Instructional Model.

Throughout the night, distinct parts of the eMINTS Instructional Model that stood out in my mind Powered by Technology and Community of Learners.

Oprah is very Powered by Technology.  I thought it was unique when the letter confirming my attendance included, “Bring a charged Smart Phone or Tablet.”  Hmmm, in a society where we are encouraged to put our devices away, Oprah was embracing the online community through tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and Skype.  Large screens in the theater posted directions for her Twitter Feed #Lifeclass.  Before the show began, people over the theater were tweeting about their excitement and expectations for the show!  There was another screen showing live Facebook comments.  Oprah also had viewers from six different global locations join the show via Skype.

Photos by: Stephanie Madlinger @cyberteacher

Prior to the show, the audience producer encouraged everyone to turn off their ringers, but keep posting throughout the show.  They wanted the audience to bring the experience to the viewers at home.  They wanted the viewers at home to have an interactive experience.  We even did a Twitter Poll.  The Oprah network provided the audience free wifi so we could be a big part of the interactive learning, which took place!  Throughout the show, Oprah referred to the screen of tweets and Facebook messages.  As an audience member, I was on the edge of my seat secretly wishing she’d read one of my tweets.  I was encouraged and motivated to keep paying attention to the content of the show, process what I was learning, and share with others via my Smart Phone.

How could this tool be used with students?  You are supposed to be 13 or older to have a Twitter account.  I started to look for some microblogging sites that could be used as an alternative to twitter.

We’ve featured Edmodo on our blog before.   Edmodo is an online, private, classroom environment.  As the teacher, you set up the classroom and students register.  There are opportunities for discussion boards, gradebooks, assignment calendars, voting, and microblogging!

So how might I incorporate microblogging into a class lesson just like Ms. Oprah Winfrey?

Imagine your students working on an inquiry lesson.  On the SMART Board you project your Edmodo class site.  As the students discover, question, and make authentic connections they post their thoughts and findings to Edmodo.   As a class you set up guidelines for the length of posts, what is appropriate content, how to site other classmates if you use their information etc.  Using the Power of Technology, students are engaged and interacting.  To assist with management, you could designate one person in each group to be responsible for posting information.  As the facilitator, you can watch the Edmodo feed and see where your students are with their understanding.  You can stop and highlight/summarize big classroom “ah-has”, do mini-lessons on misconceptions, or individualize instruction by providing guiding questions to a specific group based on the data from the Edmodo feed.

For a more “global” experience consider connecting with a classroom in another state, country, or school.  Collaborate and plan an inquiry project with another teacher and share ideas through an Edmodo online classroom.

What possibilities can you imagine for the power of microblogging with students?  What are some ways you are currently using microblogging?

Carmen Marty is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.

Follow the 2012 eMINTS Conference on Twitter

Our hashtag is #eC12, but you can follow the action below…

Or follow the #eMINTS hashtag…


HD_Links: Occupy Wall Street

Click for source.

Much of the news right now is focused on the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and all around the country. When movements such as Occupy Wall Street happen, a fantastic opportunity arises to teach a cross-curricular collection of topics that utilize current events to relate to our students. Politics, economics, rhetoric, civics, history, and environmental studies are just a few subjects that relate to Occupy Wall Street.

This week’s set of links gives you what you need to address this important event that applies to 100% of us, not just the 99%.

  • The New York Times’ The Learning Network blog has a comprehensive list of lesson ideas and links to resources for the protests and the issues surrounding it.
  • Another newspaper, The Washington Post, has a primer up for its readers.
  • Comedian and actor Mike Myers visits the protest in this YouTube video:

  • Ecology of Education has an educator’s perspective of the protests.
  • Of course, to follow the events and gain some perspective on all the late-breaking news from the Occupy Wall Street protests, watch the action on Twitter. Much like the protests in the Middle East, this is a movement born and developed online.

How are you addressing the Occupy Wall Street protests in your classroom? How do the issues brought up in the protests apply to our students’ lives? How does this movement compare to social movements of the past or in other parts of the world?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.

Tuesday’s Tool: Twitter

Is blogging too time-consuming? Is Facebook too private? Why not try Twitter?

Twitter is the micro-blogging site that has taken the social media world by storm. There are thousands of communities that have taken off thanks to Twitter’s usability and reach. Additionally, there are many tools and applications that make Tweeting extremely easy. Let’s see how Lee Lefever explained Twitter in 2008…

What Twitter has become in the last three or so years is something much more interactive than simply telling your friends what you had for lunch. Discussion takes place over the course of several 140 character statements. Links and media are shared. Resources and help from a large network in the form of a personal learning network (PLN). Twitter is so much more than just a way to share every action.

There are many tools that make Twitter easy to manage. Online and desktop tools by the likes of TweetDeck and Hootsuite make managing multiple accounts and users a snap. There are media-sharing sites such as TwitPic or Lockerz. Additionally, there are apps for your smartphone and add-ons for browsers and blogs. The lists of Twitter tools is endless.

One of the most important aspects of the Twitterverse is the use of hashtags. Hashtags are those words or phrases you see attached to a “#.” One of the best hashtags to keep an eye on is #edchat where educators from all over discuss pertinent issues in teaching and learning. Other hashtags you might want to keep tabs on would include #edtech and our own #emints.

As far as classroom application, Twitter has several, with all of them revolving around communication. Teachers can easily make information accessible to families and administration using Twitter. Also, discussions that wee once limited to the classroom constraints of time and space, can now be open for longer periods of time as well as reach a larger spectrum of participants. Even in-class discussions can be enhanced…

(via Read Write Web)

As you can see, Twitter has many sensible uses for the classroom. For further information on Twitter, check out the following resources:

How have you utilized Twitter professionally? What other ways could you see Twitter being an asset in your classroom? What are the obstacles to using Twitter with students?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center and you can follow his Tweets at @Zac_eMINTS.

Friday 4ALL: What I Learned on my Summer “Vacation”

This has been the craziest summer I have ever had.  I did a couple of presentations, went to SpaceCamp, visited the White House, saw the final shuttle launch, traveled with my family, and through it all have been continuing my doctoral coursework. I think I literally blinked and it’s over.  I’m ready though.  A new year is here.  I’m thinking of ways to make this the best school year ever.  I don’t want to take any of my summer experiences for granted, nor have them be a waste of time.  Each one of them taught me something.  As I start the year, I’m thinking about how to make it a great one.   So, what did I learn on my summer vacation?

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1.) Final Shuttle Launch:  “Teach this year like it’s going to be your last.” Watching the final launch and the final landing of the space shuttle taught me to teach this year like this is it.  Don’t wait to take that risk and try something new.  Just go for it.  Don’t wait for opportunities to come your way, find them.

2.) White House: “Accept that there are things you cannot change, and stop complaining about them.” As I listened to President Obama answers questions from all over the world, I realized how many problems and issues there really are in our country.  There are things everyday in our world, and schools, that we cannot change.  But, we have full control over ourselves.  This year I’m going to seek to learn and improve myself.  It’s really the only thing you have full control over, right?

3.) Space Camp: Set your alarm everyday to get up an inspire kids.” It doesn’t matter WHAT is on your lesson plan if you you’re not there to inspire kids.  Find out what they love to learn about, support them, mentor them, help them.  Provide experiences where they can struggle and help them find their way.

4.) Doctoral Studies: “Be open, be honest, be authentic.” After ten years in education, and lots and lots of classes, I’m having authentic discussions about ‘change’ with some amazing people in my cohort and realizing that change IS possible.  But, it’s not going to happen without difficult discussions. It’s not going to be some magic-wand experience where everything gets better.  It’s going to take some open, real dialogue.  So, don’t be afraid of it, embrace it, listen to others, share your thoughts, and make a difference.

5.) Twitter: “Never underestimate the power of collaboration.” People you’ve never met are willing to help you.  Learn to rely on others when you need to, and more importantly, learn to be there for others when they need you.  Share. Collaborate.  Truly collaborate.  Open your door to the teachers you work with and open your door to the global community on Twitter.

6.) Blogging: ”Keep learning…forever.” Stop. Think. Reflect. Repeat. Learn something.

7.) Reading. “Education is about Passion.”  I read the book “Passion Driven Classroom” in June.  I’m still thinking about it and what it means.  I ‘m going to have discussions with my students in the fall about their passions.  It’s also about embracing your own passions and sharing them with students.  Telling kids about your hobbies just might inspire them to share theirs.  Don’t overlook the value of learning what kids truly love to learn about.  The passion driven classroom is one in which kids LEARN.

8.) Traveling with Family:  ”I love my family.”  They support me.  They make me laugh. They are the reason I keep going.

I also learned that my dog loves pickles and was once again reminded that I truly love my job.  I’m pretty sure those things have no relation to each other, but I also know that I am excited to make this the best school year ever.

What did you learn this summer?

Post by guest contributor Krissy Venosdale of TeachFactory.com. Veteran eMINTS teacher, gifted education teacher, Tweeter, photographer….. and that’s just her day job. Original post August 2, 2011 on TeachFactory.com.

Thursday’s Tip: Supporting Self-Directedness

Self-Directed – “Directed or guided by oneself, especially as an independent agent”

When you think about it, we all want to be self-directed.  We want the ability and freedom to guide ourselves; to make choices based on a sound thought process, and the independence to tailor learning, thinking, and life to our own style and needs.   Being teachers, we also strive to achieve that same ability and desire in our students.  We want them to be self-directed with their thoughts, learning, and life.  Our biggest obstacle is: How do we achieve self-directedness in ourselves and our students?  As we first focus on ourselves for this post, there are several ways to move towards becoming self-directed.  With summer here, we can take some time and explore possible avenues to help meet that goal.


We might consider the development of our own Personal Learning Network (PLN) through blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.  We can choose the ones that allow us to develop skills, learn about new technologies, explore teaching strategies, see a variety of perspectives, and learn about educational issues affecting not only ourselves but the world.  A variety of tools and media allows us to develop a PLN that fits our individual learning styles as well as connect to the global education community where we can gain and share new learning.

Another way to move towards becoming a self-directed individual is through the organization of our thought process.  We have discussed in previous posts ways to reflect and plan.  We can implement these skills in almost any situation and in everything we do.  We can ask ourselves questions to develop a plan, and then once the event is over, reflect on ways to continue or improve what we did. This can include the setting of goals and monitoring the follow through of those goals.   As we take these pieces of planning and reflecting and internalize the process, we move ourselves closer to becoming a more self-directed person.

So some questions that could support you in becoming more self-directed that you might want to consider are:

  • What goals might you have for yourself in becoming self-directed?
  • What might be some strategies you can use to develop your ability to be self-directed?
  • What learning styles and preferences in yourself do you need to consider in becoming self-directed?

Taking the steps in becoming more self-directed may seem small but can have a powerful impact on how we approach and handle life.  As the Australian song reminds us – “From little things, big things grow” – Paul Kelly

Carmen Marty, Terri Brines, & Brooke Higgins are eMINTS Instructional Specialists and Cognitive Coaching/eMINTS Agency Trainers. For more information about Cognitive Coaching and related seminars visit the eMINTS National Center events page.

mathplourde (Photographer). (2007). My PLN Banner. [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/mathplourde/4618916837/

4ALL: Shared Experiences

While scrolling through my Google Reader, I stopped at a post in my subscription to WordPress’s Freshly Pressed feature. “So I was on a plane to Florida…” was the one that caught my eye. Blogger and Twitter enthusiast Stefanie Gordon tells her story of Tweeting a picture of the Space Shuttle Endeavor breaking through the clouds as seen from her seat aboard a flight on Delta Airlines.

Gordon goes on to tell her story of how this image made her an instant sensation. The picture and her name spread throughout the internet and all over mass media outlets. One Tweet provided her fifteen minutes of fame.

While the effect her picture going viral had on Gordon’s life is significant, what is even more interesting is the fact that her little share allowed the world to experience what only she and any other passengers on her flight could have experienced. This is the real power of social media and why wouldn’t we want our students to have access to these experiences?

Twitter especially is adept at sharing experiences. Instantly, from wherever, Twitter users can share perspective, images, even video of their experiences. While many of these experiences can be somewhat mundane, a few are as amazing and worthy our time, much like Gordon’s picture of the Space Shuttle.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center and he Tweets.