Highlights from CUE 2014 (Part 2): The Twitterverse

Well it’s been about a month since the CUE Conference and I’m still mulling over what I learned there. For this post, I will try to summarize what I learned from the enthusiastic folks of the session titled “Blowup Your Classroom Using Social Media to Rock PD.” If that sounds like hyperbole, I thought so too, at first. But the session really did blow my mind—not my classroom yet, but maybe some day.

Presenters Karl Lingeden-Streicher (world history teacher, San Mateo Union High School), Victoria Olsen (West Langley Elementary School, and John Stevens (educational technology coach, Chaffey Joint Union High School District) gave us the low down on the foreign culture which some call the Twitterverse.

Here are some things I should’ve known about Twitter but did not:

  • Favorite things you like in order to archive them or read them later
  • MT = modified Tweet (I’ve been wondering about that!)
  • If you start with @ + the person’s Twitter handle, only people who follow you and the other person will see the Tweet. It’s not really private, though, because people who look at your profile will also see it.
  • Put a period (“.”) or a space ahead of @+the person’s Twitter handle if you want everyone to see the Tweet

Next, I finally learned how people chat on Twitter. I knew about hashtags—well, I sort of knew—but I thought they were just category markers. You have my permission to skip this part if you already understood the process, but the hashtags can be used for real time conversations! This was a major lightbulb moment for me. Lingeden-Streicher et. al.  explained how to find the discussions (#+Chat Title) and challenged us to delve into a Twitter chat, which was my first ever. You can see it at #cue14twitter.

IMPORTANT: One cool tip I learned about chatting on Twitter is how the Q & A works. The person who is moderating the chat starts a questions with a marker like Q1 at the beginning of the Tweet. Responders answer with A1. Thus, the moderator can throw out new questions (Q1, Q2, Q3, etc.) without waiting for everyone to answer the first one and people can respond at their own pace.

I am not sure if this is relevant to my work with seventh graders. It’s the same old problem: I meet these students when they are twelve, too young to sign up for any of the social media apps. However, I can use the collaborative writing techniques within the safe confines of our school learning management system or even with Kidblog. That is something I still need to think about.

Want more?

Bottom Line: Twitter = fun + learning + more opportunities for students to write!

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