Social Networking Reflection — What’s Next?

This semester I created a Social Networking Plan for two different sets of students. I came up with a plan for my small group of 6 first graders, an intervention elective that is 40 minutes four times a week and my 3rd, 4th, 5th elective that is also 40 minutes four times a week.

I completed a little research on the different ways to use Twitter in the classroom and enjoyed 35 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom. I decided to focus on Research Diary  and Short but Sweet for my students.

I created a plan for each group with the following ideas:

  • Social Networking Plan
  • How it will be implemented
  • Who will participate:
  • Hashtag

I was very excited about the process and looked forward to working with the students and twitter.

Here are some of the tweets from the project.

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Well unfortunately I cannot say that the plan went as well as I had hoped, but I did learn a couple of things and how I would implement a Social Media plan next time.

  1. Give students time to work on paper before producing the tweets. 
    • When I started using Twitter, I asked the upper grade students if they had heard or knew about Twitter. All the students raised their hands, I was optimistic that this plan was going to work. I then introduced the idea of 140 characters and asked the students to write a couple of sentences about the project they were working on. Many students did not understand what characters were, they were not able to write 1 detailed sentence and the students did not know how to work together.
    • Next time…
      • I would spend more background time working with the students on summarizing and writing to the point. This is an important skill that can be practiced with the use of Twitter. I would also give the students more time to write the tweets in a “Writer’s Workshop” model so that the could edit and have time to write exactly what they meant.
  2. There needs to be a mixture of both pictures, photographs and text.
    • As you can see from the Tweet images I was only able to take photographs and post them with a short caption. this wasn’t easy way for me to document what we were doing in our electives but did not have any of the students authentic writing.
    • Next time…
      • I would want to give students the responsibility of finding images, photographs and other items for the tweets. I would continue to encourage the writing of the tweets from all students. Making sure that they had time to edit their work. But I would want the students to be in charge of what was put on the Twitter account.
  3. Students need an audience to communicate back and forth
    • For the social networking plan I was tweeting out from my personal school account. I had sent a note home to parents to follow the account but I am not certain that we had many followers. The followers that were following us were other teachers at the school that either liked the tweets or retweeted them for the school website. Even though they were tweeted on the school website I am not sure we had an audience for the tweets.
    • Next time…
      • I would really like to find a network of classrooms that are engaging in tweeting back and forth. I feel that would be more of an audience and it wouldn’t be more meaningful to the students. I’ve heard of teachers who have set up a partnership and we either at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day and I feel that that would make more sense as well as would mean more to my students.
  4. The Social Media needs to be meaningful and authentic.
    • I still don’t know if my students understood the point of Twitter and what I was trying to accomplish with the Social Media and the classroom. 
    • Next time…
      • I feel that if I gave them more time to work on their tweets or gave them the responsibility of being in charge of what went on the Twitter account it would be more of a meaning for an authentic task for them. I also believe that an audience that communicates back and forth would be very meaningful and would give purpose to the reason for the Twitter account. There are so many teachers out there tweeting what they are doing in their classrooms that I feel finding a partner would take some time but would mean so much more for the activity.

I am glad that I decided to try out Twitter in the classroom and now I know what I am going to do going forward. I can not say that I would have tried this by myself but I am happy that I had the opportunity to give my students practice with Twitter as well as an opportunity for myself to try out the process in the classroom.

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