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Pros: Teachers can safely share assignments and other information; kids get social networking experience in a monitored environment.
Cons: You can't easily attach .pdfs or other items to posts and messages, and the overall look isn't as dynamic as that of some social networking sites.
Bottom Line: Twiducate has a few limitations, but the site provides a secure system for teachers and students to share work and communicate.
Teachers can use Twiducate to send students assignments, to refer them to educational websites by sharing URL links, and to post dates as reminders about upcoming deadlines and events.
The simple system lets teachers broadcast a message to their entire classroom or send a note to individual students; they can dole out extra-credit assignments, send support materials to students who are struggling, or provide pre-test prep materials to an entire class.
Developed in 2009, Twiducate is a free social networking tool for classrooms. Teachers add students by first name or an alias after registering; students get random numeric passwords. Users can personalize their account with one of the site's avatar images or their own. Students and teachers can e-mail each other through the site, and educators can share bookmarks, posts, deadlines, and other information that only their classroom can see. Teachers can also search by name for other educators in the system with whom they can communicate and share ideas.
Twiducate provides a safe way for teachers to share content with students, who get to practice social networking and written communication skills in the process. Information is exchanged via a secure, closed network. Teachers can view student site activity and prevent them from editing and deleting their posts.
Students may not be impressed by the site's simple design -- Facebook's photo-driven feed provides more compelling visuals -- and the site has a few limitations. Teachers can't easily include attachments in e-mails or posts; they need to upload the items elsewhere and include a link to the materials, which can be cumbersome. Some features can be a little confusing. Teacher profiles include an option to disable chatting, but there's no clear IM feature on the site. The prominent link to Twiducate's Café Press page, touting products with a site logo, seems unnecessary, and Twiducate's Explore page contains links to sites with varying educational value, like Wikipedia. Though Twiducate doesn't provide education, the site can serve as a simple example of safe social media use, offering teachers a way to share classroom content and giving kids experience communicating online.