Conversations inside and outside of the kindergarten class begin on the first day through the use of Twitter. Twitter has been a way for me to model how to have conversations outside of my classroom. It also has helped me establish an online presence with my students that is kind and responsible. This is the beginning of their digital journey as learners, and I want to model how to use it in meaningful, safe ways.
What Twitter offers:
- Students have an opportunity to become aware of a larger audience and experience the importance of a variety of perspectives.
- Students begin to explore how having an audience can form connections, inspire and offer opportunities to be mentors.
- Students make connections with the idea that conversations can look and sound different depending on the tools used and where you are.
- Educators have an opportunity to model how this synchronous tool can be used in a safe, kind and responsible way to enhance learning.
- Students have an opportunity to explore and develop what it means to have a learning community outside of our walls.
- Educators can model correct spelling, punctuation, etc.
- Parents can join in too. Many times parents will tweet questions and or comments about what we are learning in class.
- Educators can model how to connect globally, think deeply, get inspired, have our thinking challenged and experience being a mentor to others.
- Students, parents, extended families and other educators are able to connect with our learning and ask us meaningful questions about our explorations. This is where the conversation begins to develop.
- Learning is for everyone. Technology gives everyone a voice. Twitter supports both of these ideas.
- Our students and their parents are living in a digital culture. As an educator, I need to find ways to use social media that is relevant, safe and connected.
- Parents need support and direction from educators about the value of social media and the positive impact it can have on learning.
- Educators can model explicitly how social media can be used in regards to connecting globally and the richness it has in regards to establishing relationships with others.
- Twitter offers opportunities for students to mentor each other and have conversations about how to solve real problems in the world. For example, my class collects food for our local food shelf. We tweeted about this, and our friends in another school shared how they made a difference. They collected money to help pay for two children in Africa to attend school. This kind of collaboration has meaning and the students connect immediately because they are helping others who need our help.
- This is one way I can begin to experience and explore what it means to be a digital citizen in a safe, kind and responsible way.
Twitter provides endless opportunities for educators, students, families and others to connect, have their thinking challenged and to be inspired. I want to be able to provide meaningful and rich learning experiences for all learners, both inside and outside of kindergarten. Twitter plays an important role in helping make this happen.
Sharon Davison teaches kindergarten at Allen Brook School in Williston, Vt. She recently was recognized as a VT IGNITED Teacher, an award given to teachers who are transformative and innovative. Read her blog and follow her on Twitter @kkidsinvt.