Over the past month, my students have begun to take on the classroom job of Social Media Team. I wrote a post about this new classroom job here. Depending upon the group of students in charge that couple of weeks, there was lots of interest or not. Depending upon what we were doing in school, there were many posts or not. Depending on whether or not their teacher was finished writing reports, there were many or not so many posts. Our class Twitter account is here. Our class blog is here.
What I’ve learned is that the interest in posting comes from them. When they’re excited to post, it’s amazing. They’re motivated, use correct spelling and grammar (a bonus for a grade 3 teacher) and accurate. We don’t have many followers on Twitter or our blog but I’ve noticed and shown my class using our Mapcluster widget who’s reading our blog, is that when my students post, there are more hits than when I do. Not a surprise to me, but a motivator to them. They also have improved their photography skills and are using one another’s initials to keep their own identities private on Twitter. In the case of our blog we do use first names which I should revisit.
I’ve also learned that using my iPad for students to post on Twitter or Edublogs isn’t working so well. Each of them have access to their own iPad. I need to broach the conversation at our school about using iPads to connect with others using Twitter and our class blog. I think there’s some potential for this to occur but I have a suspicion it’ll remain just on my iPad for a while. I think having their own access would improve.
Another change I need to make is to increase my teaching assistant’s technology skills so she can also help double check student writing before they post. I’m so fortunate to have her all day in my room. We are spoiled! I wonder if we increased her abilities with both applications if it would have an impact on the comfort and access to student posting.
When I watched Martha Payne’s father speak about his daughter’s passion for school dinners and ultimately the impact she had upon her readers who donated over £130,000 Mary’s Meals, an organization which “provides one good meal a day for the children from the poorest countries around the world” I’m awestruck; by her perseverance but also by her ability as a 9-year-old to make such an impact on her readers for them to take action.
When I read about Kevin Curwick who fought bullying by creating a Twitter account to send messages of positivity out to the world about his classmates, it makes me hope for my own students that they have the same people surrounding them.
Recently my school had the privilege of having Jane Goodall visit. My students posted about her visit, but even I found from my personal Twitter account I had more likes and retweets than ever before. I think that’s a great way to show my students the possibilities of how we can connect as one of the retweets was the Jane Goodall Institute.
Our next unit of inquiry is related to the availability of the Earth’s natural resources. I see possibilities of how we can use our Twitter account to reach out to scientists and organizations worldwide to learn more about our world. I see possibilities of how we can show how we will take action in our own lives. I see this as a catalyst for some small changes. I’m not anticipating the amazing results of others but for them to learn how powerful their voices would be a pretty amazing result.