Today I was defending my love of Twitter and using it in the classroom. I was talking about how I recently started using Twitter personally and in the classroom.The background story is as follows: I created a class account to use with my class. We have connected with three other classes that we Tweet with on a daily basis (3:15 is Tweet Time in 3B). The three classes share; what they are learning, anything interesting that happened, and ask each other questions. On our end, all of Tweets are composed by my students but, I type and send them through the social media manger site hootsuite (which allows for us to Tweet without having to have Twitter unblocked). We ask questions to students in other countries to help us with our research projects. This gives my students answers about what kids their age like to do for fun and what they think about their country. It brings the learning down to their level. We wouldn't be able to do this easily or as quickly as we can with Twitter. I understand that there are predators online but, I am very careful with the Tweets we send and I monitor all Tweets sent to us. Of course, my showing them how to use these technologies can lead to them using them at home and not being safe but, it is my job as an 21st Century educator to show them how to be responsible digital citizens. I'd rather that they learn from me instead of doing it at home (considering some of them have already have various social media accounts) that aren't being monitored. Of course, some parents may not like this if they start doing it at home but, I have the curriculum outcomes to prove that it needs to be taught. As teachers in the digital learning world we need to expose them to all of these different types of media and make them become responsible digital citizens at an early age before they are exposed without the knowledge and understanding behind being digital citizens.
On another note, today we connected with Sean Quigley (singer of the empowering "Our Generation") on Skype (who I connected with through Twitter). My students asked him some great questions about making change and how we can help out with our make change social action project for our local homeless shelter. He answered all of our questions and gave us some great advice. You would never know he was only 17. It is nice to see a young person with such a drive to make change and make a difference in the world.
We will continue to use social media in our room as it is an amazing way to learn in this digital world.