Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do 2nd Graders Get Twitter?

Yes, they do. I was overwhelmed when I read this post and then heard the students themselves speak about how Twitter has helped them. They really understand Twitter and the value of posting comments. Students also speak about how Twitter is helping them to become a better writer. Listen to their reflections by accessing this post: They Really Get It! These students are convincing, and perhaps listening to them will help convince you to open a Twitter account and begin to use it in the classroom with your students. If you are on Twitter, follow @grade1.

When you go to the post, be sure to click on the play button in the Twitteracy area to hear the students speak. Also, note how the Livescribe pen works.

Image from Aviva's blog 
By the way, the teacher who maintains the blog you will visit is Aviva Dunsiger. As time permits, scroll through and read other posts on her blog: Grades 1 and 2 At Ancaster Meadow School to learn more about exciting tech projects that Aviva does with her students.

Please be sure to leave a comment. What did you learn from hearing the 2nd graders discuss Twitter? If you visited the Grades 1 and 2 At Ancaster Meadow School further, what interesting discoveries did you make about how tech is being used with the 1st and 2nd graders?


Christine said...

This is very cool to read! As a teacher of third grade, I am always fascinated to see how other teachers are integrating technology within their curriculum successfully. We do not always give full credit where it is due to our children- they really are digital natives that GET it. After very little guidance, my class understood the blogging tools with KidBlog, and I know if the opportunity arose in a controlled setting, they'd understand how to tweet and use it as a powerful tool as well. However, again, I am always concerned with how open and public that realm is for their information. But kudos to the teacher for taking that leap!

Chandler P said...

It is very exciting to see teachers implement this sort of technological learning in their classrooms at such a young age. I believe that this type of education is starting to become more and more popular and effective. These digital natives are more comfortable with Internet tools than their teachers by an incredible margin. I personally think that there is a wealth of resources online that can help students achieve mastery in both reading comprehension and writing. There are obviously some negative aspects of using platforms such as twitter, but if they are taken into account, there is no reason why students can't succeed in their writing by using them.
Pros- Students using twitter will understand the need for brevity, that is to say that they will need to make their responses more concise and choose their words more carefully. Students will also be more likely to complete their work if they are able to see it published in the "real world", in a place that they enjoy visiting on their own time.
Cons- Teachers will need to understand the importance of keeping their students on track. As these sites are popular for students, it would be easy for them to get distracted by their own socializations. Twitter-speak is an unavoidable con to working on Twitter. the 140 characters available make it necessary to shorten words. It is of the utmost importance that teachers stress proper word usage and spelling in other writing assignments, so that students do not fall into bad habits in their writing.

Overall, I believe that the pros vastly outweigh the cons, and that social networking should be available to teachers and students looking to improve their performance in school.

Kate said...

How inspiring to hear how this teacher was using techonology with 2nd graders. I enjoyed and was encouraged to hear how the students were actually correcting and understanding thier writing skills with the use of twitter. I am still fascinated that children this young adapt so quickly to technology especially when I am still hesitant about twitter in the classroom. And this only being because I am not familiar with it.I am always impressed and motivated when I hear these types of stories. I challenage myself as to what technology I will intergrate into my courses for the engagement of the students.

Aviva said...

Thank you all for sharing your comments about my Twitter blog post! A special thank you to your wonderful professor too for sharing the link!

It's interesting to hear what you think about the use of these tools with young students. I teach a Grade 1/2 split, and even though my Grade 2's were the only ones that reflected on the use of Twitter for summarizing, my Grade 1's did this activity as well. I've noticed the same improvements in their writing as I noticed with the Grade 2's.

There are just some things that I wanted to mention from my own experiences that may help some of you out as well:

1) Even though it's easy to fall into short forms and slang terms when using Twitter, I expect correct spelling and punctuation from the students (or at least as correct as Grade 1's and 2's can give me at this point in the year). When restricted to 140 characters, I have them really think about what they want to say and how they want to say it. I don't encourage the use of abbreviations, and my students don't use them either. This is still a writing activity for them, and I'm using it for formative assessment too. I want the students to use familiar words and spelling patterns to help them write regardless of if they're tweeting or writing in a journal. Also know that almost all of the tweets that go out from my @avivadunsiger and @avivadunsiger2 accounts are written and edited by the students. The spelling and writing is their own. They take this responsibility seriously, and they love the use of Twitter to communicate with other classes from around the world.

2) I've made a choice to make my Twitter accounts and blogs public. I could have had them as private ones, but I think that the students benefit from writing for an audience. They also benefit from the feedback that they get from communicating with a "real audience." The students know that these accounts are public, and they know that their tweets are out there for the "world to see." We discuss this a lot! We've talked about what they can share online and what they can't. They will never give you their full name, and will only use their initials or first name. They don't share any personal information about themselves either. Even Grade 1's and 2's have been very responsible when it comes to this! I think it's actually made them more responsible digital citizens. They understand the benefits of a positive digital footprint, and they're ensuring that's exactly what they create. I also try to protect them by seeing which people follow our Twitter accounts and blocking people accordingly (if necessary). I think that this is important too.

3) I've never had a problem with students getting off track when using these tools. I think it's all in how we explain the activities, and the choices that we give as part of these activities too. Students are excited to do what's set-up for them, and they have enough choice within the activities to still take ownership of their learning. They're engaged, and they're on-task.

I hope that this helps clarify a few things. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to tweet me at @grade1, and I'm happy to help!


Jamee Freitag said...

I think this is great! Having students involved in technology from an early age is key in our society today. Having all of the educational foundations in place before posting also helps students maintain their online footprint. This is one area that I am currently finding to be a struggle to teach. Students are posting whatever they "feel" on FaceBook and Twitter and not realizing that what they say will be carried with them throughout their entire lives. Therefore, having spelling, grammar, and length qualifications before posting really helps steer clear of all of the controversial issues with students online.

Andrea said...

I was surprised and excited when I read this post. I teach younger students and I did not know if a website like Twitter would be something they would understand and be able to use to improve their writing. It was a very nice idea to give it a try with these young children because it had such valuable results. Not only does using Twitter help the students with their writing, but they seem to have a grasp of what they are learning. They are aware of the skills they are learning by using this website. I was a little wary of using Twitter myself because I did not see its full value. It does seem like it could be a good way to practice skills the students learn in the classroom in an engaging way.

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