The Power of Twitter

In the last few weeks Kelly Jordan and I have been speaking to teachers and school leaders at the VITTA conference, ICON conference and our own school about the power of Twitter.

In our presentation we shared how we use Twitter every day as a form of ongoing, personalised and invaluable professional development. We stressed that Twitter not only makes us better teachers but impacts on our students.

We concluded our presentation with an example of the power of Twitter; sharing how it helped to connect one of my seven year old students to the world.

Jarrod is a student in my grade two class who earnt his own blog in June of this year.

When my students write posts on their blogs, I often promote their post with a tweet using the hashtag #comments4kids. You can read more about that wonderful hashtag here.

One Friday night in July, Jarrod wrote a new blog post asking his readers to vote on his poll to help choose his next blog post. Jarrod had only been blogging for a few weeks and had a very small readership.

Jarrod's blog poll

I sent out a tweet to my PLN and the #comments4kids followers encouraging them to support Jarrod.

Jarrod tweet

The response was amazing! My single tweet was retweeted 17 times.

Jarrod retweet Two

27 people took the time to leave a comment on Jarrod’s blog post.

42 conversations Jarrod

Jarrod’s Clustrmap showed 113 visits in 24 hours.

Jarrod Clustrmap 113 visits

The poll Jarrod put in his blog post showed 117 votes.

Jarrod poll

The next morning, Jarrod’s mum emailed me: “You should have seen Jarrod’s face when he saw his post this morning, he was so excited!”

Without Twitter, Jarrod would not have had an authentic audience for his work. He would not have received validation and encouragement from a wide range of teachers, education professionals and students. Jarrod would not have received the positive reinforcement that showed him his voice counts.

Jarrod is seven years old and is now connected to the world. Many of the people who visited Jarrod’s blog on this one night in July have returned to offer Jarrod more encouragement, support and conversation.

All this from one tweet…

How have you experienced the power of Twitter?

19 thoughts on “The Power of Twitter

  1. Aloha Kathleen,
    I truly experience the power of Twitter daily. Living on an island in the middle of the Pacific I need a means for my teachers and students to connect, communicate, collaborate, and share.
    For me, I also have a place to question, share, and help others. My virtual friends are important to me and many times they understand me at a level that those that see me everyday do not.
    @JoAnnJ68

    • @ JoAnn,

      I totally agree with you about what Twitter has to offer us as educators. My virtual friends are very important to me too and I feel that I am better off personally and professional for “meeting” them!

      You’re a great supporter of #comments4kids too and I thank you,

      Kathleen

  2. The power of Twitter reveals itself to me in the way I am able to share the learning experiences of children around the world. I love to post comments for their work as I know how effective comments can be in reinforcing learning. As a teacher retired from permanent teaching, Twitter has allowed me to feel a part of classes by clicking the links in tweets and visiting blogs.

    Ross Mannell (teacher)
    Australia

    • @ Ross,

      You epitomise the qualities of a good teacher. To think that you are retired and you still put so much effort into supporting students and the education community. I’m thankful that Twitter has helped you to find my class because I know my students are better off for it.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Kathleen

    • @ Michelle,

      Thanks for sharing your story. That is just amazing! I just had a discussion with someone on Twitter about converting other teachers to Twitter. We decided that even if teachers aren’t interested in the tool personally, they have to look at what it can do for their students. That is the soft spot for a lot of teachers.

      Thanks,
      Kathleen

  3. As a student teacher the power of twitter is that I have a job interview next week because a person on twitter knew I’m looking for a teaching job and referred me for a job.

    At the moment I am a commentator on #comments4kids as a pay it forward for when I get into the real world.

    • @ Stephanie,

      Good luck with your job interview. I think it is amazing that Twitter can be so (possibly) life altering in that way, but at the same time I am hardly surprised at all. If I was employing teachers at my school I’d want to look at my Twitter PLN first! Good luck.

      I agree with the pay it forward thing too and I’m sure all the effort you have put in as a student teacher will be returned when you have your own students.

      Kathleen

  4. I love the authentic audience that Twitter provides for my via my PLN. A quick browse & participation on Twitter each night provides instant PD. I have picked up and shared so many little things that make a difference to my classroom. It was only a matter of time before I introduced twitter to my students and now we have a class account @daveykids. We tweet with other grade 1and 2 classes around the world – this global audience/peers is invaluable to our learning. It just takes 5 mins each morning on the IWB then I leave it open all day for tweets to pop up. Great writing, connecting with the world and learning.
    Can’t wait till 2KM & 2KJ get on Twitter.
    Gill Davey

    • @ Gill,

      I love hearing about how you’ve been able to integrate Twitter into your classroom and it is definitely something I strive to replicate with 2KM and 2KJ. Perhaps next term!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment,

      Kathleen

  5. Hi Kathleen,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and what a great example to share the power of twitter. #comments4kids has supported my class countless times and I am incredibly grateful for what it has to offer my kids. Like many of the other readers here, I have also learnt a huge amount from fellow tweeters in terms of PD. I would like to add another pro to it too though. When you actually get to meet the people on twitter, it’s an amazing experience. I recently went to an educamp in Dunedin which was full of people from twitter, we got together for a day of free face-to-face PD which again probably wouldn’t have happened without twitter.

    I do have one area though which I am curious about in terms of motivation. We have seen the positive effects that twitter can have in terms of the number of comments people leave on posts and providing a real audience. I have no doubt this motivates kids to do more and strive for their best. However, what happens when, on one post you received 117 comments and then your next one you only receive 5 or perhaps none. I know there will be many children who will be philosophical about this and continue posting for the love of posting but I wonder what we would find in terms of motivation if we actually researched this side of it.

    Thanks for sharing Kathleen, it’s always a pleasure reading your blog.

    • @ Sarah,

      Great to hear you have had success with the #comments4kids hashtag too! Yes, the times I have met Twitter “friends” it has been wonderful and definitely lived up to expectations. Your Educamp sounds terrific!

      Good point about motivation and for some kids this could be an issue. Jarrod and his mum are aware that the reason he gets so many comments on some posts is because I tweet about it. They are certainly philosophical about it. One of the great things is that some of the visitors actually return next time. So in the long run, he gets more visitors than he would have if I never tweeted.

      I also think it is good for the kids to be able to think about what sort of posts appeal to their readers. It is difficult for many kids to think beyond their own interests so this is a terrific skill to develop.

      Thanks for your insights, Sarah,
      Kathleen

  6. @ Mrs Morris,

    I like your post.

    Most people in my family do not go on twitter.

    If I went on twitter I would go on with Amelie, Chloe, Alana, Ella and all the other girls in the class.

    See you tommorrow at school.

    Bye for now,
    Hannah

    • @ Hannah,

      How lovely to hear from one of my students.

      Perhaps next term we’ll start a 2KM and 2KJ Twitter account. I think we could learn a lot from other classes and teachers.

      See you tomorrow at school,
      Mrs Morris

  7. @ Mrs Morris,

    Thank you for replying nack to me.

    I think twitter is only for adults is it?

    I was just thinking that if we go on twitter at school we could skype with Ross Mannal because he wants to skype with us one day so maybe instead of going on skypewith him we could go on twitter with him.

    Best Wishes,
    Hannah

    • @ Hannah,

      Thanks for your comment. You are doing a lot of commenting at home! 😆

      You have to be over 13 to sign up for Twitter but some classes have a Twitter account. They tweet about what is happening in their class. I think Mrs Yollis even has a class Twitter account.

      What a nice idea about our friend Ross Mannell.

      Your teacher,
      Mrs Morris

  8. @ Mrs Morris,

    Thank you for replying to me again ❗ 😆

    We could tweet about other stuff not only whats happening in our class we could ask questuins like what is your favourite thing to cook.

    Best Wishes,
    Hannah

  9. @ Mrs Morris,

    Thank you for replying to me again.

    It must be hard replying to so many people over the world.

    Thank you for saying I am full of great ideas.

    You are full of great ideas to.

    See you soon.

    Your student,
    Hannah

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