20 Jul

Twitter for school – How to get started!

Twitter as a social media network is well and truly established now. Chances are that you also have a personal twitter account. I prefer using twitter to facebook for schools as it just feels that little more ‘secure’ and easy to manage the connections.

Support and help for teachers using twitter is also available – and the great twitter account @battt provides plenty of links; resources and advice for using twitter as a teacher.

As an educational network tool I have found Twitter invaluable. Creating school accounts has allowed us to link with parents, the local community and to engage in national and international events. This has directly impacted on the pupils in schools and has created some real ‘buzz’ moments. See this post about our twitter conversation with astronauts! Our schools have linked with local authors, shared events through a local news hashtag, received support and sponsorship from local businesses (and then been able to thank them) as well as countless other smaller connections with parents.

Where to begin?

Choose a name!

Sounds simple – but you need to make sure your school is identifiable!

Read / adapt / create a policy.
You should already have an e-safety / safeguarding policy – and the schools’ use of social media should be part of this. Referencing Twitter directly will ensure that you:
– are clear about the use of photographs of children / use of names etc.
– name the staff who are responsible for updating the account.
– ensure that the account only ‘follows’ those that the school want to; it is not a personal account.
– ensure there is a ‘professional’ feel to the account and nothing is said that could reflect on the school

For clear guidance, and example policies take a look at the always useful ESafety Adviser site.

 

Spread the word! 

I started by linking the twitter accounts on the website and advertising it on the school newsletter. Staff enthusiasm can also be harnessed – although it’s worth limiting who has access to the account. Reassure staff that if they follow the school account the schoo l account won’t follow them unless they want it to.

Offer Support

If you are serious about enganging the community you will need to support them in the use of the media. Holding a Parents’ guide to twitter session can be really useful – and people tend to find it genuinely useful. It can also be a good time to discuss more general social networking concerns.

Get Tweeting!

Besides general admin type notices you can start by tweeting places where the school visits-  or linking up with events such as World Book Day! Local schools and local businesses can also be great Twitter pals as you can share events and exchange local news. If you have a school facebook account it is possible to link the two.

 

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It then needs to be integrated with the school ‘life’ with Tweets sent on a regualar basis by the same member of staff. Integration with the website should also be set up so the tweets can be read there.

Have you had any great success stories with your school twitter account? I would love to hear them!

Thanks for reading!

12 Apr

From Padlet to Twitter – a Digital Classroom Journey!

I thought I would share a recent example of of the integrated way in which various digital/social platforms can be linked and used in the classroom.

Context first:

Y6 class, space topic.

The pupils have a blog, created on blogger, which the teacher updates.

 

Literacy unit (and linked work) was newspaper linked, journalistic writing and so on.

 

How we started:

A very simple lesson – aimed at questioning skills and linked to interviewing an astronaut – the children had to think of questions they would ask and build these into a report they were writing. These were collated on a Padlet, which was embedded in to their class blog.

 

The pupils are well versed in contributing to Padlet – and did so at home.

 

Next we linked to Twitter. The pupils are aware that there is a school Twitter account, it has been used before for contacting local businesses and sharing photographs of work. We discussed how we might limit the questions in order to keep to the restricted number of characters, and, more importantly how we could find someone to ask…

It's all about relevance…

Luckily for us the Channel 4 Space Season and been a hit – and that has hash tags and twitter handles all over it. So we started there… It's worth mentioning that I did do 'live' twitter search – but I used an iPad and Air Server and so was able to put Air Server on once search completed….

We then tweeted what looked like a willing volunteer, an Astronaut who had been on the Space Station itself – who – amazingly replied!! (Huge thanks to him!!) He was able to answer several questions, and used photographs and links to the Space Station live to get his messages across.

 

Every day that week I was able to show the children more photos, more answers and really keep the topic alive! – The links for their writing, and with the blog at home were really clear – genuinely exciting (for staff and pupils) – and produced some awesome, genuinelt motivated work! Enthusiasm was everywhere, and the whole school buzzed with the pictures and replies we were getting!

 

What we learnt:
  • It was great for e-safety, the other twitter users who got involved provided the perfect opportunity to discuss advertising and online 'stranger danger'.
  • Use of the blog both in and outside the classroom was also beneficial, those children who cannot access the blog were still a big part of the lesson.