My first major school project where students used Twitter was with my Grade 12 Management class to organize and promote a Leadership and Technology Conference. The project was an experiential learning project to learn the art, science, and practice of management. Many of the ideas on how to use Twitter for the conference were learned in collaboration with fellow business teacher, @LadyFitzee.
To begin, the class had to create a conference Twitter account (@stltconference) and a conference hashtag (#pcstlt). Students were then encouraged (explicit criteria on instructional rubric) to tweet promotional and educational information prior to and at the conference. During the conference, we had a separate computer and screen display the Twitter conversation using Tweetdeck. In conclusion, the Conference "story" was created using Storify.
Like any class project, many things went awry, some things were great, and I would do many things differently the next time! Here are eight ideas and tips that might be considered to improve the learning experience.
- Plan and schedule plenty class time to creating appropriate names and make sure you check suggested names on Twitter before publishing anything.
- Ensure you clearly demonstrate and explain what curriculum content you want the students to Tweet and have a conversation about. Practice with an initial mini project or activity.
- Plan and spend time to ensure the class understands and buys into the concept of Digital Citizenship (etiquette, literacy, and communications).
- Practice setting up and moderating conversations on Tweetdeck before going live!. You can block, or "mute", inappropriate users!
- Create your own specific teacher account for the project or class.
- Create temporary accounts for any student that is reluctant or not allowed to use Twitter or social Media.
- Collaborate with other classes (your school and others) and community professionals.
- Have fun!