I am a true believer of the power of Twitter in the classroom. I have my personal Twitter account that I use regularly, but I was never able to effectively integrate Twitter in my classroom. Lucky for me, I am connected to some of the top early childhood educators, many of whom are considered Twitter pioneers in the early elementary classrooms. I turned to my friends Karen Lirenman, Kristin Wideen, and Kathy Cassidy to learn as much as I could about implementing Twitter in early education classrooms.
As you can see in my curation above, these teachers are able to seamlessly integrate Twitter into their classroom. They use Twitter in all content areas, utilizing hashtags (and sometimes even creating them) to interact with classrooms all over the world. My main takeaway and synthesis is that Twitter, much like educational technology in general, is best when it is not seen as something extra.
Karen used Twitter to extend a 3D shape lesson. Kristin's students extended their math learning about 3's patterns by asking Twitter friends to extend their patterns on Twitter. She also allowed her students to run with an inquiry project about a bird feeder. The student ended up getting bird seed donated by the school's principal and the school district's Director of Education. Kathy is amazing and used Twitter to have her first graders develop number sense by playing "guess my number" with students in Italy. The two classes created the hashtag #guessmynumber to play the game. Kathy also described the empathy her students developed when they heard of sever floods in Australia in an area of class they Tweet with regularly. The used Twitter to check in with them to make sure they were ok. They then used Google Maps to study the geography of Australia to see where the flooding happened and exactly where the class was located.
I loved my exploration this week because I witnessed yet again how powerful technology can be in the hands of our youngest learners. All the teachers above had Twitter downloaded on their classroom iPads. After many classroom lessons on digital responsibility, digital citizenship, and the basics of Twitter, students were trusted to use the app independently to extend and share their learning . Twitter isn't something "extra" but rather a seamless learning tool in their classrooms. I learned a lot and now have concrete examples for how to integrate Twitter into my future classrooms.