Monday, November 11, 2013

Peeking Outside Your Window: Introducing Young Learners to Twitter for Forging Connections

I came across this idea that Karen Lirenman used at the beginning of this year to not only introduce her students to the power of Twitter, but also to pique their interest in learning about places where their age-mates in different parts of the world live.

Basically, students go to the window of their classroom or somewhere else in their school where there is a window and take a picture of what they see outside. They then use Twitter's option to post a picture asking others to tweet back where they think the photo was taken.

Check Karen's blog post, "What's Outside Your Window," to learn of the process and to see the photos uploaded to Twitter and the tweeted replies.

Here is one example:

Similar activities could easily be done in other schools and at other grade levels. Students could find pictures of their capital city and take pictures of it and ask others to guess the state or country. They could take pictures of land formations and tweet those. However, the idea of taking pictures in the students' immediate setting also could lead to asking questions about what their school is like or what kinds of activities students like to do outdoors in their part of the world. A lesson in the seasons in the varied parts of the world could also be incorporated. It would be fun for students to check their class Twitter accounts daily to see who replies and what they say and if they in turn post a picture. This process is an easy way for classes to connect. It is a perfect idea for schools where Skyping with other classes is not possible due to limited technology, but also assumes that Twitter is not blocked. If nothing else, this kind of activity where students share pictures of the place where they live and learn geography in the process helps skeptics to see the educational benefits of a simple classroom Twitter activity.

What are some other activities students could do with posting pictures on Twitter to generate interest in their community or what they're studying?