Twitter – What’s all the fuss about?

April 17, 2009

Twitter has been about since 2006, but you may only just have become aware of it, with celebrities, predominantly Stephen Fry, talking about it in newspapers and on TV. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have a clue what it actually is, and why you should be using it.

So what is it?

Twitter is a microblogging service. It asks the question “What are you doing?” and you post your reply, using a maximum of 140 characters. It is very much like the status updates on Facebook. You can then search for people to follow – which mean you can read what they have been “tweeting”, and hope that some of them follow you back.

But why on earth is this useful to me in terms of education?

Very good question. Initially I hated the idea, I don’t feel the need to inform other people of my every waking thought and action and I’m really not interested in what Britney Spears had for lunch. Slowly though it became clear that this wasn’t its real strength and I now use it for the following two reasons:

1. To find out useful information and news as it happens. Teachers and educationalists post up useful links to stories and resources here. News stories often break on Twitter first, for example the landing of the plane in the Hudson River. You can search Twitter using keywords and see what other people are saying about certain topics. As an ex-MFL teacher I would have loved to have had Twitter in 1989 as the Berlin Wall fell.

2. To ask questions of my peers and get immediate feedback. Unfortunately this is more difficult without a good number of followers, but I can post a question on Twitter for my followers to answer. For example, if anyone has used a particular piece of software, or could recommend a website for a certain subject area.

tweet example

It’s all about creating a Professional Learning Network (PLN) for yourself, and being able to communicate with the network in a quick and painless way.

Can it also be used in the classroom?

Yes it can. There is a good presentation here that details 22 ways it can be used with students. Not all of them may be practical, but I like ideas such as writing the first line and getting students to continue the story on twitter, or writing tweets in the style of a famous person from history or literary character.

The main drawback in using Twitter with students is the very public nature of the application, so do use wisely.

How do I get started?

Head over to www.twitter.com and sign up for an account. You can follow me, username @catherinelliott – I can’t promise fascinating tweets, but I may be able to answer any questions you have. You can also access this Wiki, created by students in the US, on how to use Twitter (thanks to @josepicardo on Twitter for pointing me there).

Addition: To find like-minded people to follow on Twitter, head to http://wefollow.com/.

If anyone finds any other good uses for Twitter, please comment on this post, or you could always tweet!

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Daleks invade the CLC

April 9, 2009

Dalek at Talbot SchoolTwo Daleks and a Tardis arrived at the CLC 2 weeks ago, along with a class from Talbot School. The students had been learning about Conflict and the teacher used Doctor Who and the Daleks as an example. This led to two life-size Daleks being created plus a Tardis.

The class came to the CLC to create a video with the Daleks using our Green Screen facilities, where the biggest issue was keeping everyone to the space in front of the green screen. The final film was a success, with a Milky Way backdrop and Doctor Who theme tune, and it was shown at their assembly last week.


Count Me In – SEN Maths Materials

April 3, 2009

bannerThe CLC worked with staff from Seven Hills School last year to help create some maths materials with content at P levels and KS1/2 but with the visual and auditory interest level at secondary level, and accessible using switches and other accessibility options. The School received funding from Becta for their Repurpose, Create, Share project to create the materials. The activities are based on key skills (counting, missing numbers, ordering numbers, money and time) with the themes of animals, shopping, television, football and cars.

The activities and more information about the project can be found on the YHGfL website here.


Welcome to the Sheffield South CLC Blog

April 3, 2009

CLC logoWelcome to the blog. As of September 2011 we became part of the Sheffield City Council eLearning Team, and now work with all the schools across the city. This blog will no longer be updated, but will remain live as an archive of the projects we have done over the years.

You can follow what we do on our new website at www.sheffieldclc.net – check out the Blogs and Resources tabs for useful information.