Saturday, 9 April 2011

Twitter in Education

A microblog differs from a regular blog, in that it has a limit on length, so that posts must be concise and to the point. The most famous example of a microblog is Twitter. Again, joining Twitter is something I scoffed at until recently, thinking it was exclusively for self-indulgent celebrities!  However, stay posted, as the next stop for me is creating my Twitter account! This inspirational video is what changed my mind;

So, should we use microblogging, in particular Twitter, in the classroom? I have come to the decision that yes, we certainly should! As the video above demonstrates, what an amazing way to stay up to date with your interests, why shouldn't children be offered this opportunity as well? When a class is studying a particular topic, why not follow Twitter accounts posting relevant, topical information. I believe this would be an engaging and authentic learning experience, and would connect children with the issue or topic within the greater community.

In addition, summarising an event, story or issue is a skill that children need to learn, as we have all experienced the drawn-out (admittedly very endearing) tales of children. Twitter would provide an authentic medium for children to share information in a concise manner; teaching children to think about the value of every word they are writing. In my honors year at university, I had a similar experience where we had to summarise every scientific paper we read in under 300 words, including objectives, methods, results, conclusions and a critique. It was a steep and valuable learning curve, and definitely taught me a new skill!

So in summary, Twitter in the classroom can be valuable to;
  • Follow children's areas of interest.
  • Follow issues and current events.
  • Writing tasks; Forced to summarise and be concise.
  • For teachers; connect with other teachers, share resources and stay up to date with issues.
  • For teachers; class blog to communicate news and events with students and parents. 


  1. What a great clip! I love the video liz (especially snoop dog), it really emphasizes the potential that twitter has to become a worldwide phenomenon on connecting people around the globe. Like what you mentioned twitter's ability to encourage students to summerise their thoughts is a great attribute and can truely benefit their education especially in the later years where exams, essays etc ask for this.

  2. I agree that Twitter has great value in teaching students to express themselves succinctly. Some teachers are even experimenting with getting students to construct narratives through Twitter, with each student adding another line to the story.

    For lots more ideas on how to use Twitter, you might also like to check out the link Nikki posted the other day:

  3. Thanks for the comments and suggestions! Adding on to the idea with constructing narratives, I saw an activity where children have to re-write a Shakespeare play in a set number of Twitter posts. Thought that sounded like fun.

  4. Yeah, that does sound good. I also saw a suggestion on Twitter this morning that it could be used to set up really succinct class debates (see: It wouldn't work with really low levels, but it might be possible in upper primary. The options are endless ...