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First Draft

Page history last edited by Pattie Perez 13 years, 10 months ago

Tweeting in Learning



Cooperative Project

EDTC 6320

Group 3, Spring 2010



Jennifer E. - Pattie P. - Karl R. - Ray S.





Introduction to Problem to be Addressed


With an increasing number of students having access to the Internet and social networking sites becoming extremely popular, it is beneficial for instructors to utilize these sites for educational purposes. Our group will take an in depth look at how to use these sites advantageously, specifically Twitter. We will address the features and benefits of the Twitter social networking site, along with providing a tutorial of how to set up a Twitter account and implement into instruction for a variety of grade levels. Not only is this service free to use, but it also provides a way to pass information instantaneously while keeping students actively involved and interested.


Twitter is a real-time blog that is used by a variety of individuals and institutions, including news services, job finding sites, and now schools (Campbell, 2009). Blog entries on Twitter, or "tweets", are character limited so messages must be direct and to the point in order to effectively convey a message. This setup not only prevents users from becoming bored by lengthy posts but also allows for individuals to access such information by both computer and wireless devices. Users can set up their account to notify their cellular device when a new tweet has been posted. With a majority of students being owners of cell phones capable of receiving such messages, class updates can be passed instantly.


Active class participation is always beneficial to a successful learning environment. Our group will analyze how Twitter provides a means to encourage and continue class participation even after the classroom session ends. This can either be implemented through such practices as posting a discussion topic for students to contribute to. It also can be used for students to ask questions of their instructor or other students.


Twitter is a means to supplement instruction in a cost-free way by providing instant class updates and encouraging classroom participation. We feel it is an invaluable tool for use in today's and future classrooms.


Relevance to Education 

     One of the issues that primary and secondary teachers face in the classroom today is the disconnect between themselves, their students and their students' parents. One solution to this problem may lie in social networking, more specifically Twitter. A teacher would be able to send messages to parents about upcoming projects, deadlines or homework. Students would be able to take a deeper look into a topic by messaging each other their thoughts and ideas. If teachers are willing to think outside of the classroom a world of opportunities develop.

     In the elementary classroom, it can be used to develop revising and editing skills.  In secondary education, it could be used to give hints on homework or a heads up on what to study for a pop quiz. In higher education, it can be used to force students to pick out the main topic of that days lecture by having them summarize it for homework.

     Behind the scenes, Twitter can help collaboration amongst teachers of a certain cohort, team, or department. In a cohort, one project can integrate math, science, social studies, english and art. The student wouldn't be bogged down by multiple projects for different teachers. They would be able to explore one topic from every angle, allowing them to go deeper into their studies than ever before. In a department, teachers can give each other a heads up when something didn't work as well, when they have found a useful website, or even collaborate on a grant.

     The possibilities are endless, as with all technologies, all we have to do is learn how to use them.


Conceptual Background/Research


Karl - setting up and social uses of a Twitter account


Setting up a Twitter account

In order to use Twitter, users must have a Twitter account.  The Twitter community is composed of users from all across the world.  Users can choose to create their own smaller communities by ‘following’ other users.  But, to get into any of the communities on Twitter, a user must have a Twitter account.


Setting up a user account on Twitter is simple, quick and involves creating a unique user ID that others in the Twitter community can view.  Potential users of Twitter must setup their account at www.twitter.com.  Users can get to the setup page through various Twitter programs available on many smart phone devices.  When a user want’s to setup a new account at Twitter, they must complete four items: (1) a full name, (2) a user name, (3) a password and (4) an email address.  Once these items are complete, and a unique user name is created, users are ready to do what Twitter is known for, ‘tweet’.  


Tweeting is the means by which users communicate with each other on the Twitter network.  General Tweets are limited to 140 characters and can include only alphanumeric characters.  Users can send out tweets to anyone at anytime of the day or night.  Users that choose to follow other users, are called followers.  Twitter users follow other Twitter users and receive tweets whenever a followed user tweets something.  Got that?  Lets say it again with an example.  When User A tweets that they are eating dinner, anyone following User A will receive a message on their Twitter account with User A’s message.


Twitter is a social tool, used by users around the world.   In 140 characters or less, people share ideas and resources, ask and answer questions, and collaborate on problems of practice; in a recent study, researchers found that the main communication intentions of people participating in Twitter could be categorized as daily chatter, conversations, sharing resources/URLs, and reporting news ((Java, Finin, Song, & Teseng, 2007; McFedries, 2007).


Java, A., Song, X., Finin, T., and Tseng, B. (2007, August) “Why we Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities.” Proceedings of the Joint 9th 

WEBKDD and 1st SNA-KDD Workshop 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2008, from 




Using Twitter in Primary school

Using Twitter in the elementary classroom seems like a strange idea at first. How is it possible for young children use a social networking site to develop their own learning and is it appropriate or safe?  In both case studies (Kurtz 2009 and Waller 2009), Twitter was used to develop student learning in a primary classroom.  However, they were not used for the same purpose.  


Jeff Kurtz in Washington State, USA, used Twitter for a twofold purpose. The primary purpose was to develop students’ writing and editing skills. Students were led to use language creatively and descriptively but within the 140 character limit of Twitter. The teacher modelled this at first and then used it as a whole class writing activity. The class would microblog constantly throughout the day to describe their learning activities. The class would revise and edit the posting together as a class before tweeting.  It then developed to students being able to write down in a notebook their own ideas for the tweets and editing them themselves before the teacher tweeted them.  Students were editing and revising their own writing and were writing for a purpose and an audience. (Kurtz 2009).  He also worked on teaching internet safety as he did not limit their followers, but left it open to the public domain.


His second purpose was to keep parents and families engaged in their child’s learning.  Parents and grandparents could read on Twitter what the students were doing and would ask them about it at the end of the day.  The teacher also uploaded audio recordings of the class reading and singing. Children would show their parents what they did at school that day and the parents became more involved in their child’ learning. (Kurtz 2009)


Martin Waller in Stockton, United Kingdom, used Twitter to help children reflect upon their learning and develop their metacognition.  Students were encouraged to describe classroom activities and to tweet them on the public domain. The students’ tweets and subsequent comments were used to develop classroom discussion about learning and how they learned and what they enjoyed about learning. (Waller 2009)


In both cases, Twitter was used on at least a daily basis, if not several times a day. Twitter impacted students learning in positive ways.


Patti on integrating Twitter in a high school classroom

Integrating Twitter in a high school classroom can have it's good and bad points. (Grosseck, Holotescu 2008) The teacher must be very careful by making sure that the Tweeting does not get out of hand or inappropriate.


Because there aren't many articles that document research on integration of Twitter in a high school classroom I will be using it in my classroom as research and including the page as an example.


Using Twitter in Higher Education


Twitter is a form of Internet technology that has become extremely popular with a wide audience variety from school children to professionals. With the approximately 96% of American college students being reported as Internet users in 2008 (Williamson, 2008),  it should be utilized effectively in higher education. Using this site to supplement classroom instruction allows teachers and students to continue discussions and information transfer outside of class, provides a means to get to know each other better, and allows users to track specific subject matter with instant feedback.


Once an instructor and his or her students have created Twitter accounts, it allows for a unique and powerful way to continue the communication flow outside of classroom instruction. All students should subscribe to follow their instructor's account, enabling them to receive instant updates about the course. Such information can be used for an instructor to pass along a schedule change or correction to the syllabus. When sending out such a tweet, the instructor can also request for student users to confirm they have received the new information. Because all of this can be accomplished through a wireless device, this exercise can be accomplished almost anywhere without having to log onto a computer. With roughly 90 percent of undergraduate students being cell phone owners (Williamson, 2008), this is a feature that can be taken full advantage of. This same information sharing process can be accomplished in reverse by having students post questions to their class or instructor. Chances are more than one student had the same question and information can be viewed simultaneously by all subscribers.Twitter presents a means to disseminate information in an expedient and easy manner.


Instructors can also use Twitter to encourage discussions after class by posting a topic as a tweet and then requiring all student users to comment on the matter. Because of the 140-character limit, students will need to effectively pass their ideas without adding extra, non-essential information. Students will then see ideas posted by others and have a chance to reflect and respond, effectively cooperating in an online blog. Ideas are transferred instantly and a great deal of information can be shared in between weekly classroom sessions. While some students might be intimidated in the classroom setting due to a larger audience or fear or interrupting the instruction, use of Twitter encourages participation of all users and minimizes hesitance.


Classes utilizing Twitter will get to know each other better than those not because of the increased communication between users. Standard classrooms might be limited to one or two hours per week, while Twitter presents a near infinite amount of time for information sharing. Through on-line discussions instructors and students will get a greater understanding of each user's beliefs along with a knowledge of background information through sharing personal experiences. Acquiring such knowledge helps instructors to get a better feel for his or her class and aids in constructing new approaches for more effective instruction. The students will be able to get to know each other better than with traditional classes and find students with similar views, which would be most beneficial when looking for partners for group projects. Twitter presents a means for the instructor and students to share information and get to know each other better, benefitting the instructional process.


Another benefit of Twitter is the ability for users to track specific information instantaneously, providing yet another means to gather data for research. A Twitter user can utilize a feature that tracks keywords and will receive an update each time a tweet is posted that uses that keyword. The same feature can be used for gathering information on conferences or meetings. Users also have the ability to follow professionals or famous individuals. This would be beneficial in research of a topic by being able to receive constant updates from subject matter experts whether it be from investigative reporters to getting political updates from the President (Parry, 2008). Twitter is not a substitute for traditional research and all information should be checked for reliability, but it does present an additional means to obtain information for research purposes.


There are countless ways in which Twitter can be utilized in higher education, with more and more ways developing each day as features change and users become more imaginative. This Internet service provides a means for instructors and students a way to share information instantly even with use of a computer, encouraging communication outside of classroom sessions. This allows for all users to get to know each other better and presents a new way of gathering information for research. Utilization of this service is one that is highly recommended for higher education settings.


Multimedia Tutorials


Karl - setting up a Twitter account


Jennifer - using Twitter in Primary school - supplemental material- handout on ideas of using twitter in the classroom


Pattie - integrating Twitter in a high school classroom - supplemental material - example Twitter account for use by my students.


Ray - using Twitter in higher ed








All meetings were held asynchronouslythrough conversations via email and twitter accounts.


Feb 8th - This was the setting up of the group and its members. We also set up the first site.

Feb 25 - We discussed meeting in Elluminate but do to time changes, we did not.

March 2- This email conversation discussed getting admin rights to the new wiki.

March 4- We shared different articles found about Twitter in Education.

March 7- We discussed via email which articles were posted on the wiki.

March 11- This was a discussion what was due on Sunday and who was going to do what part.

March 15- This was the final discussion and posting on the wiki of the assigned parts.




Aspden, Elizabeth J. and Thorpe, Louise P. (2009) "Where Do You Learn?": Tweeting to Inform Learning Space Development. Retrieved March 28, 2010 from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/WhereDoYouLearnTweetingtoInfor/163852


This article focuses on the use of Twitter for data-collection as well as a way to check on the decision making process of the participants.


Bloom, Molly (2009) Eanes' Westlake High School experiments with Twitter. Retrieved March 28, 2010 from http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/education/entries/2009/04/27/westlake_high_school_experimen.html


This newspaper blog highlights an Austin high school for adding Twitter as a line of communication between administrators and the students and parents.

Campbell, Nick (2009). Twitter for Education. Retrieved March 6, 2010 from http://www.tienetwork.org/content/view/302/


This article provides an overview of Twitter and how to utilize it for education. The author points out how Twitter can be used to provide extra information to students. With newer cellular technologies, students can immediately access the information. The website can be used to post a topic and encourage discussions amongst students. Due to character limits on posts it also forces students to get right to the point. 

Dunlap, Joanna C. (2009) "Tweeting the Night Away: Using Twitter to Enhance Social Presence". Retrieved March 28, 2010 from http://www.patricklowenthal.com/publications/Using_Twitter_to_Enhance_Social_Presence.pdf


This article addresses the use of Twitter in distance learning as a way to engage the students socially. It also has some suggested guidelines for the integration and use of Twitter.

Ganis, Frank (2009) "Social Learning" Buzz Masks Deeper Dimensions: Mitigating the Confusion Surrounding "Social Learning". Retrieved March 28, 2010 from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/45/bd/4a.pdf


This report takes a look at "Social Learning" and it's pros and cons. It applies Albert Bandera's four step model to the use of social learning and points out what is needed in the field.


Grosseck, Gabriela, and Holotescu, Carmen (2008) Can We Use Twitter for Educational Activities? Retrieved March 4, 2010 from http://adlunap.ro/eLSE_publications/papers/2008/015.-697.1.Grosseck%20Gabriela-Can%20we%20use.pdf


This article provides a description of what Twitter is and gives a few examples of other micro-blogging sites across the world.  It also provides a long list of potential educational uses for Twitter and discusses some of the drawbacks of using Twitter in the classroom.  It then outlines some guidance that should be adopted before using Twitter in the classroom. 

Kurtz, Jeff  (2009).  Twittering about Learning: Using Twitter in an Elementary School Classroom   Retrieved March 4, 2010 from http://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/45/8c/d8.pdf


This article describes how a 1st and 2nd grade teacher uses Twitter to enhance student learning and parent communication.  The author explains that as a class they "tweet" several times a day about what they are learning or doing.  Students work as a class or in partners to edit the writing to make it fit in a 140 character limit. parents and grandparents follow the class Twitter postings to find out about the students are doing.

Parry, David (2008). Twitter for Academia. Retrieved March 6, 2010 from http://academhack.outsidethetext.com/home/2008/twitter-for-academia/


This article discusses the benefits of using Twitter in a classroom setting. It points out students using Twitter can convey thoughts instantly and also develop better relationships compared to those developed when just seeing each other one or two hours a week in class. The article indicates how Twitter has a number of features including tracking certain words in order to track certain subjects, and it also provides a good way for students to share ideas and brainstorm.

Silverman, Emily; Coffman, Margaret; Younker, Betty (2007) Cheep, Chirp, Twitter, and Whistle. Retrieved March 28, 2010 from http://www3.nsta.org/main/news/stories/science_and_children.php?news_story_ID=53291&print=yes


This article gives an in depth look into one interdisciplinary lesson plan using Twitter. It is activity based and designed for the third and fourth Grade classroom.


Waller, Martin (2009). Multiliteracies and Meaningful Learning Contexts in the Primary Classroom. Retrieved March 28, 2010 from http://www.changinghorizons.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/uklapaper09.pdf


This article highlights using a variety of technology resources in the primary classroom.  They use film, an interactive whiteboard as well as twitter.  They tweet on a daily basis to promote reflective learning. Using twitter to reflect upon their activities, forces children take the time to think about what they are learning. They also read and discussed responses to their postings to promote whole class discussion.

Williamson, Debra (2008). College Students Online: Driving Change in Internet and Mobile Usage. Retrieved March 28, 2010 from http://www.emarketer.com/Reports/All/Emarketer_2000524.aspx?utm_source=Adweek&utm_medium=TextReportCollegeStudent&utm_campaign=AdWeek0908&aff=Adweek


This article highlights current numbers and the trends for increased Internet usage by American college students. It also provides current statistics on cellular phone owners among students and states how students are the main driving force for the popularity of social networking sites. 

Woodard, Amber (2009) From Zero to Web 2.0: Part 1. Retrieved March 28, 2010 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6365/is_200909/ai_n39230628/


This article gives us insight on how a library was able to start integrating new technologies, including social networks.

Young, Jeffrey R. (2009) 10 High Fliers on Twitter. Retrieved March 28, 2010 from http://chronicle.com/article/10-High-Fliers-on-Twitter/16488


This article gives us an understanding on how Twitter is currently being used by 10 professors and administrators. They each share what they get out of using Twitter.

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