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Twitter and Facebook in the classroom? Yes it’s a reality and it is even being used in primary school settings, in both paper-based form (theory) and online environments (practice).

There are three approaches:

  1. Learning Facebook and Twitter norms via paper-based activities.
  2. Actually using Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Using protected, for educational-use-only Online Learning Management Systems that imitate Facebook or Twitter.

There are numerous reasons why schools should explore the use of Facebook or Twitter in educational environments as:

  1. Educators, students and parents to react to and interact with learning at the speed, pace and change occurring in today’s ICT enriched environments.
  2. These social networking tools can increase student engagement in the discussion and sharing of school work, both inside and outside of school hours. E.g. Teachers can post work assignments or relevant readings for students to access. Students can then tweet or post their questions or thoughts to their classmates and the teacher(s) who can respond and be instantly notified when responses are posted.
  3. Students can tweet or post whilst to an agreed page or using a given hastag whilst watching lesson content (such as videos) to enhance student communication and collaboration (e.g. knowledge/note sharing). This process is known as ‘back-channelling’ and is being used in more and more classrooms around the world . Teachers can also use the student input as an instantaneous feedback loop.
  4. Tweets and Facebook posts can be inserted into interactive ePortfolios as rich examples of student learning.
  5. The concept of augmented tweeting can revolutionize school corridors, especially during school art shows.
  6. It brings the students’ everyday social world into the school, where schools can train and monitor students to be respectful digital citizens (a key component of cybersmart education).
  7. These social networking tools can be harnessed to promote schools when schools embed RSS feeds linked to school, class and individual Twitter feeds/Facebook statuses within the homepage of a school’s website .

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