27 June 2017

Exploring Technology Tools in the Classroom - An Article Review 1st Edition

In the article “Twittering About Learning: Using Twitter in an Elementary School Classroom” the author, Jeff Kurtz, describes how he has adapted a favorite classroom writing activity to the technological age the world has become. First Kurtz (2009) describes how he used to have his students communicate about daily activities by writing about the day’s events on chart paper. Then each student would bring it home one day a month to share with their family what was happening. Eventually he decided to try this activity out, but using Twitter. Each day the class writes four to five tweets per day about the events happening in the classroom. He explained how he spent the first few months modeling this in front of the class. He would make the tweet too long which caused the class to have to revise the tweet together. Eventually he transitioned to choosing a few students per day to write the tweets that would be posted. Each student would write the tweet in their notebook before having it checked by the teacher. Then later, before posting, the class would review the tweet to revise, add, or delete.

When it comes to communicating with parents, I use primarily Class Dojo, but I also use e-mail. I enjoy Dojo, but if I am personally having a busy week I do not always update it. Having the students use Twitter to update would be extremely beneficial. Parents in my school always want updates, so this gives them numerous updates per day. If I forget to update the Dojo, this also helps keep parents in the know for what is happening. One of the biggest benefits I saw in doing this with the students is the importance of the revising. The author mentioned that students seemed to do very well with understanding the concept of revising when they had to change the tweet around to make it fit the right amount of characters. This is always a concept that third graders do not understand and most of us teachers find exhausting and a constant struggle. It also shows students how important communicating effectively is in the real world. In addition this is the perfect opportunity to discuss digital citizenship and the importance of internet safety. After this, I have officially added this to my list of things to try this upcoming year. It seems like a wonderful tool to use for not only communication and collaboration, but also helping my students improve their writing skills. 

Kurtz, J. (2009). Twittering About Learning: Using Twitter in an Elementary School Classroom. Horace, 25(1). doi:EJ859276

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