Paper Tweets – Teaching Social Media

Try the activity with your own students – with PARENTS….with TEACHERS…with ADMINISTRATORS…..with FACULTY members. Try with any type of Social Network. PRACTICE FIRST before going live. Use what is comfortable for them FIRST.

“Paper Tweets”

1)   Use a TAG and have students search it. Tags are generally safe and help build a network based on certain topics or themes. IE: #edchat #scichat #comments4kids…..

2)   Hand out strips of coloured paper and have them RETWEET (tell them to simply copy down the exact tweet) on the page. Tell them that they are sharing the tweet because they found it interesting and worthy for others to see it. Tell them they will share it on a public bulletin board in the hallway. Before posting…… Discussion…..

3)   Redistribute the paper tweets (so that they get one that the didn’t write). On another paper  strip, have them REPLY to the paper tweet, using as few words as possible, but making a statement, a reflection or a thought about it. DISCUSS – how do we say “Thank You” online?  What do people want to hear? What does good sharing look like? How do we give credit when credit is due? What is a tag?

Social Networking needs to be taught.

For most of us, we’ve learned the “how” from our friends and if we were lucky and our choices led us to a ‘tech type’ ed conference, we learned from someone who actually knew what they were talking about. Some of us might even think that it is “silly” that such a skill needs to be taught. BUT IT DOES.

Over the last few years we have learned that there are so many wonderful uses for networking. We have learned that PEOPLE are the best resources and that our NETWORKS let us share, collaborate, learn and always be current (really current). Our networks keep us AWARE and give us PERSPECTIVES from so many people.

BUT IT IS COMPLICATED. There are SOCIAL SKILLS attached. Safety Skills to be learned. Tips and Tricks that save time and improve practice. Ways to leverage the best people, sources, and lists. 

Recently, I asked my pre-service students (Teacher Education) who average between the ages of 23-25 (give or take) who uses Facebook. 98% indicated that they did. I asked them who taught them.

None of them said, “teacher”.

Some of them said, “themselves”.

Most of them said,  “friend”.

When introducing them to Twitter (very few – almost none had it)  as part of my class, they were somewhat stunned since social networking had never been part of formal education before.

Like any other skill – scaffolding came in very handy – especially when using public learning environments like twitter.

Starting on paper made it safe and helped them understand what it meant to ReTweet or Reply. Having to write it down made them really think about what they were doing rather then just pressing the button.


3 thoughts on “Paper Tweets – Teaching Social Media

  1. Great post! I think I will try this with my grade eight students. I have two questions:

    1- In a grade 8 class, would you have them create their own accounts or would you create them for them so that you have their passwords (for safety, lost passwords, etc) Just wondering about the logistics.

    2- Do you happen to know anymore appropriate tags for students or a place where i can find some?


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