Twitter – MicroBlogging.
I’ve just recently discovered “Twitter” http://twitter.com thanks to online colleagues such as Graham Stanley , great blogs like Common Craft and (strangely enough) the BBC Radio 4 program “iPM” which recently discussed Twittering.
Twitter has been described as “Micro Blogging” or in other words: like a blog, but much smaller. When I write a Twitter post (a Tweet!) I can only use a maximum of 140 characters. These get sent to my Twitter homepage. Any of my friends or colleagues who want to have short, personal updates on “What I’m up to at the moment” can check by my homepage to read about what I’m doing and get a quick update on my life. They can also follow me automatically via RSS if they want to. This video by Common Craft explains the beauty of Twittering nicely:
One of the things I like about Twitter is the tiny size of posts you can make to it, 140 characters disappears really quickly. This means that language students don’t need to feel pressured into writing huge, long blog posts (which I have found can be off-putting for students who are writing a “normal” blog.) With Twitter the emphasis is on posting short, but sweet posts and often.
Another thing I really like about Twitter is that you can send your Twitter posts from a mobile phone (Moblogging?) This could also give our students more freedom to practice their English when it’s most convenient to them. Out in the centre of town? Seen something amazing? Let your classmates and friends know all about it! Practice your English while your doing so!
I’d also like to see if it’s possible to centrally “aggregate” several Twitter feeds. I was thinking of trying to set up a wiki which I’d use to tie all the Tweets from a class together in one place. It would also make for some really interesting inter-personal reading. Ever wondered what your class mates are doing on a Sunday evening? Check Twitter and see if they are telling you! If you look to the right of this post you’ll see my own Twitter feeds.
I’m sure I’ll be using this tool in my next A2 (Elementary Level) classes. I think Twitter will be a great way for my students to practice using the Present Continuous. I also want to try it out with a higher level class I am working with, we are blogging together, but not all the students are able to find the time to post regularly. Maybe they will with Twitter?
In the mean time, does anyone know about any “Twitter Aggregators” out there?I’d love to try out the idea of collecting my students’ posts together all in one, central place.
All the best and have fun!