Tweet to Learn History

TwHistory is a great way to engage students in history using today’s social media.  This site allows teachers to conduct reenactments using social media like twitter. The great thing though about this website is that it allows you to use this type of media with out going onto Twitter. Everything is hosted on TwHistory so it is safe and accessible through school district servers that often block Twitter. This is a great tool that could be quite effective in teaching history to students. For more information on this website see the following article in Mind/Shift or check out Larry Ferlazzo‘s website and his “The Best Tools For Creating Fake “Stuff” For Learning” list

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8 Great ways to Present Information to Your Students

Found a great link today on my PLN via twitter.  This site shows you 8 different presentation technologies.  I have used most of these and found the explanations and examples very good on this website.  This would be a great resource to show those teachers that are a little apprehensive to add technology to their classroom.

Take a look at this website. http://livebinders.com/play/play?id=8503#

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Piloting 30 cell phones in the classroom: Test One “Twitter”

This past week I introduced my students to the 30 HTC Touch Pro2 I am going to test for the remainder of the year.  Each student was assigned their own phone.  After allowing the students a day to familiarize themselves with the phones I decided to try them out.

My first use with the phones, as a resource, in the classroom was to test out Twitter with my Jr. High Students.  As I presented information to them on Washington State history specifically the fur trade and missionaries.  They were allowed to participate in a back channel on twitter. If you are not familiar with back channeling is when people in the audience converse online about the topic being presented to them live.  To do this they use a designated hash tag in Twitter to see and respond to people in the class.  I was surprised by the by the results of my little experiment. Students were very engaged with the topic and obviously the technology.  I was also very surprised to see that they stayed on topic.   Not only were they on topic but they answered each others questions and posed other questions to each other.

On the second day, I decided to post questions to them on the topic and have them respond to those as well.  This really seemed to keep them engaged on the topic being presented.  I even had a student at home who logged on to Twitter and was participating in class from home. I did find that conducting a class and monitoring and posting to Twitter was quite difficult.  Although by the second day, I did see how it could be done.

While I was encouraged and saw the potential of this type of technology use in the classroom I am not sure if this would be a great fit for Jr. High students.  Some of the students a hard time using the phones and got frustrated with the technology.  As a result this pulled them off task as they tried to fix their phone or interrupting class to vent about their phone.  I felt that there is some true potential to using this type of social networking in class.  Will be revamping my use from what I have learned over the past week and giving it another try. Will post the results when I do.

One of the issues that I had was the Twitter client that I used.  I was using a Twitter client called MoTweets.  Does anyone know another mobile application for a windows mobile phone that that works better?  I felt that this client was not very reliable and often very slow to post to Twitter.  If you know of one please leave me a comment.

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