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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Call for Twitter Help



I know - I am usually here to give YOU ideas and solutions, but I am really flummoxed by this Twitter business,and hoping that someone out there in educational blogger land will read this and come to my rescue. 

As I stated in my previous blog, I am trying to find ways to use Twitter in my teaching, in order to help my students become familiar with it as a tool that they have at their disposal when needed. However I cannot for the life of me figure out how to harness its effectiveness.

This is what I WANT to be able to do:

* to notify my students of what they need for the upcoming lesson
* to conduct short interactions with them during and between lessons
* to be able to SHOW the interactions on the smartboard in my classroom
* to share things that I believe they will find of interest as English learners
* to teach them how to follow me
* to teach them how to sort through different postings and find what is relevant


I, personally, have started to use Twitter in order to do the following:

* share my blogs about digital pedagogy (as a teacher trainer)
* communicate with my students (as their teacher)
* advocate for Israel (as a Gaza-border resident)  

So my question is: what do I need to tell my students to do in order to follow my communications which are meant for them, and not have to get the communications meant for other educators or on the issue of advocacy for Israel?

And another question: would it help me if I opened a SEPARATE Twitter account just for my students?

I have brought a Twitter specialist to my classroom (and although he IS very good, he is NOT using it in the way _I_ want to use it - in the classroom. Hence, I still need help).  I have read and watched a gazillion tutorials online. But I have yet to find anything that helps me make sense out of the seeming chaos. 

When using Twitter at my computer, I use TweetDeck, which organizes things clearly for me. However, on my phone (and that is what my students will mostly use for tweeting in the classroom) it seems a mess!

I have told my students to use #AdeleNHS in order to send me a message (four of them did so) and I have suggested to teachers who want to work on me with developing activities for using Twitter for teaching EFL to communicate with #AdeleEFL (one teacher did so.. thanks Naomi ;-)  Others are welcomed to do so as well, and join in the discussion!

Any suggestions are welcomed. Please feel free to either add them, below, in the comments to the blog, or email me privately: araemer@gmail.com. If you feel it would be more efficient to talk to me on the phone, you can call me: 054 7916468. I promise to share what I learn with all of you (if I ever get to the point where I feel I have what to share on this front). 

Digitally yours, 
@dele



7 comments:

  1. Hi Adele,

    There are Twitter clients (I suppose that's the word!) for smart phones similar to TweetDeck. For example, I use TweetCaster on Android. There must be something similar on iPhone.

    You can create a hashtag (#engdele or #adeleng or whatever) and your students can sort the posts by it. Also don't forget they won't see just anything - only people they follow.

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  2. Having read your post till the end now (something I should before commenting really!) I see now that you have already created a hashtag. So what's the problem then?
    L

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  3. How can I be sure that THEY all get the tweets that I want them to see?
    1. They have to follow me. (But I Tweet all sorts of things that won't necessarily interest / be relevant to them)
    2. You write that my students can sort the posts by the hashtag - that means they have to go in and LOOK for them. I want it to come into their notifications. Can you do a search via hashtag? Can I tell them to search for #? I just tried in Tweetcaster, but it does not pull up the tweets I can see in my TweetDeck for #AdeleNHS.

    Also - after working so hard with your students to teach them how to spell correctly, how do you teach them to use creative spelling in order to fit into the 140 characters?

    Any bright ideas (and yours always are) are welcomed!

    Thanks Leo! Shana tova!
    Adele

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  4. I think it's a good idea to create a twitter account to use at school just for the students. Having a specific # that you use at the end of every tweet that is relevant to them is worthwhile and if they also use it they can always see all conversations. I introduced twitter to my students by using postit notes and writing hardcopies with relevant #. They also got stickers to 'favourite' other peoples tweets. We then used that as a discussion point for what makes a good tweet.
    Depending on how your students use twitter and how many people they follow you can't guarantee they will see your tweets. You could get your students to set up notifications for your tweets though. That way they will be notified every time you post something.

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    Replies
    1. Interesting ideas, Mel. Do you mean that you made a twitter account for the class and everyone signs in and uses that one? Or that each of your students and you make a twitter account that is dedicated to school messages only? I will read up about "setting up notifications" for the tweets.
      Thanks for sharing this!
      Adele

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  5. It might be worth using whatsapp for your purposes because it's a tool that most of them are already familiar with. You could use Twitter for other purposes such as asking them to follow famous people on twitter or maybe have a twitter conversation in class with the barkol on. Good luck!

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  6. Hi Sara
    Thanks for your input. I use Whats App as well, but as you say: they are there already. I want them to learn another tool that is an important social networking tool abroad but very weak in Israel.
    Adele

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