"Twitter?!...that is like Facebook for old people" - 8th Grader
Every year, the big finale for our Earth Science course is making solar ovens. Students parade into school with boxes made of foil, plastic wrap, construction paper, mylar, and spray paint. There are ovens that somehow get colder when put in the sun, ovens that are 100% created by parents, and ovens that light themselves on fire. If you doubt the ability a cardboard box to cook hot pockets, I assure you that it is possible. The high temp on Friday was 305 F.
This year we tried an experiment. I put a desk on the field within range of the wireless and we live-blogged and twittered the events on the web. I have done online chats with students before and from my experience it was most successful when focused on an event. For example, the homework/review session chats didn't work at all, but the lunar eclipse chat had 20 students chattering like monkeys for over an hour.
The Solar Oven Cookout was the perfect opportunity for the students report the events live. In one block we live-blogged and for the rest of the classes we Twittered. Check out our SO09 tweets and blog posts from Friday. I would highly recommend setting up a Twitter account for your classroom. For privacy reasons, I will not follow my students, but the Twitter account gives us a chance to broadcast events with one button. 140 characters forces the students to be concise and I think the next time we watch Bill Nye the Science Guy, the students at @science619 will be tweeting summaries, science connections and applications to the topic of the day. Check us out and see how our experiment evolves.
How do you use Twitter in the classroom? Please comment!