Monday, October 19, 2009

Potential for Microblogging in the Classroom

It seems like everyone is talking about Twitter lately, and it is not only for the actors of Hollywood. Many educators are starting to use this tool as a way to collaborate and offer real-time interaction between users. It can also serve as a forum to ask questions/get advice/receive directions/find support. For my own professional development it would be wise to find experts in the field of Spanish education to follow.
It also makes sense to introduce Twitter to students in a way that is beneficial to their learning. Many students may already be familiar with Twitter and they may even be following some of their famous idols. However it would be great to show them how to use this tool in an academic sense. There were some good ideas in the following article/powerpoint called "27 interesting ways to use Twitter in the Classroom." One that would work well in a foreign language classroom is the story starter - where I could start a story and my students could continue it with a tweet. This provides even quiter students with a way to be heard. Another way to incorporate Twitter would be to post what is going on in the classroom and provide parents with another mode of communication with me. It would be a great way to make a quick annoucement to both parents and students.
Overall Twitter can serve as a way to make writing more enjoyable and can promote literacy and editing skills at the same time. However one article, "Can we use Twitter for Educational Activities?" points out some flaws of Twitter in the classroom. The constant tweets can be a distraction for some students and having only 140 character tweets may lead to bad grammar skills. As a teacher you must also be aware of the privacy of the students and Twitter spam.
Right now I do not think I am experienced enough using Twitter to introduce it into my classroom program. However I do believe it could help me personally in my own development by following other Spanish teachers, finding useful websites through them, and asking questions/seeking advice about the best ways to teach topics from people more experienced than myself.


  1. Heather,
    I think that you have mentioned several good ways to use Twitter in the classroom, but as you mention safety/privacy is an important issue to take into consideration. On the other hand, you are quite correct that if you find good people in your field to follow, Twitter can be very useful.
    Dr. Burgos

  2. I'm a Twitter fan, Heather. I posted about how Twitter makes you/students better writers at But, I got a serious push back from my administration when I tried to use it to keep parents up to date. They saw it as too trendy, too open, too confusing.

    Maybe next year...