How I Use It
I just used it to create an example of a gothic story via Twitter. I scheduled tweets using HootSuite so I could send out the next event in the story at the correct time. This engaged students in the writing process and gave them a reason to "follow" me. It also gave them the opportunity to critique my writing and see me struggle through the writing process.
I also follow trusted sources to build my personal learning network. I've read more professional articles and blogs in the past week (on Twitter) than in the previous two months. I'm still figuring out how to avoid being overwhelmed by all the great articles posted by sources like Edutopia and TeachThought.
I've heard other teachers have the class create a 140-character summary of the lesson each day as a summation of the lesson. I've had students practice summarizing their reading, too. As we read Frankenstein, students will send out tweets from various characters chapter-by-chapter. When they are finished, they will have created a timeline of the novel that will help them find events for their analysis essay. It will also function as a quote collector for the characters and force them to practice voice.The possibilities are almost endless.
Twitter forces us to choose strong words and hook our readers immediately. It also allows asynchronous discussions of topics by organizing responses by hashtag.
It's a tool that many students use anyway. Rather than fighting the technology, we need to harness it to develop new learning strategies. Students need help choosing the appropriate tone, voice, and words. Teaching digital citizenship through Twitter can help accomplish this.
Like any technology, students need to learn to be good digital citizens, and parents need to be educated on the strengths and weaknesses of the tool.