Saturday, March 07, 2009

Twitter... what is it? How do I use it?

Twitter was one of those things I heard about and saw frequently, but I was never really sure what the attraction was. I am still not sure exactly, but time will tell.

The other day the writer of the One Mind blog commented on this blog, and when I looked at her site, she had written an entry on using Twitter in the classroom. It was intriguing, so I gave the service another look. I started my own and have been playing around with it. Here are some ideas I have had about it after using for one day.

I don't think I would get my whole class to do it, because it would take too much time to monitor. I would probably go for the low tech notebook approach. I think it would take too long to evaluate entries. I would only suggest that students try it in English, because the entries are short, and it seems to be a format that would suit my students' desire to keep in constant contact with friends. I really liked the idea in One Mind of using Twitter as a kind of concordance tool by searching for a specific word or phrase.

Since I started I have been trying to twitter in English and Japanese for my own language learning, and so I can have some experience of what my students may encounter with posting in their second language. That means that people have to look at two posts. Maybe I could alternate between English and Japanese, or write half in English, half in Japanese, but that would make for pretty short posts. I don't want to go the extent of making two twitters.


EFL Geek said...

I use twitter, but not for students. For me it's all about networking with other people. I use it primarily for Web design, but I do have a few ELT teachers on my follow list.

Like you it took me a long time to warm up to the idea of twitter. At first I thought it was just stupid, but now that I'm on it, I'm addicted.

If you're interested, you can follow me at - some ELT tweets, but mostly web design/development.

Daniel said...

Thanks for comment on how you use Twitter and how your perspective has changed over time. Great stuff.

I'll certainly give EFL Geek a follow.

Iluska Ikeda said...

Thanks for the mention on here. (^_^)

How are you liking it so far? To be honest, I hated it in the beginning until I got connected with more teachers and moms (the two main networks I have on there).

I agree with keeping two twitter accounts being tough (I tried it). Can I ask you to keep posting in both languages? I'm trying to practice what little Japanese I have. This summer I'm going to visit my in-laws in Osaka for 3 months! My Japanese skills have to improve by then...

Daniel said...

Again, thanks for the comment. So far it is really useful, and kind of a different style of communication than using FaceBook. I use FB mostly for family, good friends and close colleagues. Twitter is far more casual, but has been kick so far. Thanks for turning me on.

I will continue to post in best Japanese I can as per your request!