Students as Twitter Documentarians
Twitter is the core component of the lesson. We use Twitter to discuss digital publishing, broad audience, and the permanence of the digital word.
It is the hook because Twitter is still viewed as a platform not often permitted in schools and students are eager to be able to use it, as well as use the iPad to write and take pictures.
2 Direct Instruction
We use the AppleTV to mirror the iPad on the SmartBoard.
This allows all students to view the tweet being compossed. We use this visual to discuss proper formatting of a tweet as well as the various elements of a tweet such as
- signatures (since it is from a shared classroom account, not a personal account)
- descriptive writing
- how a tweet can travel (retweets, etc)
3 Guided Practice
The first student, alphabetically, writes an introductory tweet, for example:
"Hi, I'm John from class 310. -JS #ps10st"
Before we tweet the class gets to discuss the tweet, look for spelling and/or gramacial errors, proper formatting, hashtaging, etc.
Once the class approves it, the student takes a photo of the class, with the iPad, and then composes another tweet describing the photo. Once again, the whole class, watching the tweet via the AppleTV, gets to assist in the edit, revising, and formatting of the tweet.
4 Independent Practice
The student composing the tweets during guided practice gets to compose three more tweets, with pictures, describing what is happening in the class.
As the student is tweeting, the rest of the class is logging in to their machines and using a browser to navigate to the class twitter account to view the already composed tweets.
As the student tweeter publishes the tweets the rest of the class refreshes their browser to see the new posts.
This provides a great example of the immediacy of the internet, the reach of platforms like Twitter, and the fact the typed word becomes public, beyond the initial device it was composed on.
At the end of the lesson we not only look at the class Twitter feed but we look at the school TagBoard (tagboard.com/ps10st) to see all of the other student-composed tweets from throughout the building.
This shows the power of digital publishing as well as the importance of good digital citizenship since it demonstrates we can see what others are saying and posting instantly, even if we aren't in the room.
In addition, I ask a friend on Twitter to re-tweet the student tweets. We'll take a final look at the class Twitter account to see how many re-tweets we got, as well as the number of followers those other users have. This demonstrates the potential power and reach of the student's written words.
Going forward there is a designated "student tweeting" for every class period to document the period live via the class Twitter account.