Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Twitter Me This

Anne Smith recently blogged about a student who was having trouble completing an assignment. She had asked her students to pick a profession they were interested in and interview 2-3 people about it, post their interviews and other information on their wiki, then write a summary response paper about what they learned. But one student wasn’t having any luck connecting with professionals in her area of interest, so Anne tweeted out a request on Twitter.
Once I found out that my student wanted to move into the FBI or secret service, I went to my computer and got on Twitter putting out a tweet looking for connections to these professions. From my tweet, two other friends (cgfaulkner and karlfisch) retweeted my request putting this student’s interest out into a much wider audience. Before I knew it, tweets were coming in from all over, emails were being fed to her and I by all sorts of people willing to help her in her quest for knowledge. I can’t tell you what that meant to me other than to say, it is good to know that all of you are out there. Thanks for showing me and my students the power of the web. Rather than walking away from a learning struggle, I hope she learns that the web can make learning possible- the web connects us.
So, how are you using your Personal Learning Network and real-time conversation/connection tools like Twitter to help your students? And how are you helping your students use the tools – and the network - to help themselves?


  1. Sounds kind of like the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game we used to play in middle school.....

  2. As I attempted to comment before I teach second grade in a district that does not have money to allow my students to have access to the computer any more then once a week in their 45 minute Tech class. I wish we could use the computer within my regular classroom to spark my students interest in various subject matter.

  3. @sally - So are you saying that you aren't allowed to use the computer in your classroom to help your students learn?

    If so, have you thought about having a conversation with somebody (school board?) about that. I'm not necessarily suggesting you start with suggesting Twitter :-), but certainly it would seem to be a waste of taxpayer dollars - not to mention educationally criminal - if you weren't allowed to use your classroom computer to help spark student interest and extend their learning.

  4. I find I use my computer at school mostly for helping students to fact check (well besides the imovies, podcasts, papers typed, and powerpoints...none of which we can post). Most of my social networking interactive stuff so far has been kept mainly to my personal life and hobbies. When thinking about why this is, I realized a large part is because the majority of those sites are blocked at school and by the time I get home in the evening, although I still do plenty of "busy" school work, I tend to also take the time for myself and my hobbies.
    But after this post, and the wonderful ideas I got from Elona at A teacher at risk I am going to try and spend some time each week using social networking places for professional stuff too. One way will be to stop lurking on blogs and start leaving comments! You are one of the first :)

    Beth (hope I did the link html right)

  5. @Beth - You did the link just fine, and I'm honored that you decided to leave one of your first comments here.

    I think we're all trying to figure out how best to use these tools to help our students - and for them to help themselves, and I think using them for personal passions is an excellent way to begin to figure that out.