By Patricia Briscoe

First off, good day Mrs. Szalay’s grade 3 class from the Knowledge Network of Applied Education Research! Thank you for sharing your Twitter knowledge with us and our followers.
connect
Just a few months ago KNAER and Mrs. Szalay’s grade 3 class (@cirquedeszalay) connected on twitter. From here we became immediate, virtual friends. KNAER was interested in learning how a class is using twitter for teaching and learning, so Mrs. Szalay provided us her classroom’s experiences.

Background: Mrs. Szalay's Grade 3 Class is located in Southwestern Ontario. They are a class of 20 third grade students in the Greater Essex County District School Board.

Purpose: Mrs. Szalay teaches her students to use “twitter in a socially responsible way by modeling to children how it can be used to learn and share our learning.” Although Mrs. Szalay does not have a personal Twitter account, hosting a class account allows her students to learn responsible ways to connect social media to education, and the outside world.

Rather than encouraging her students to create their own accounts, Mrs. Szalay invited the parents to sign on with their children to follow the classroom account. “At this point, over half of my students’ parents have joined.”

Twitter Activity: Mrs. Szalay shares the Twitter feed with her students regularly, especially when they receive a retweet or a message. She states, “I think the students enjoy having an audience.” This audience of followers includes other grade 3 classes from around the world. Just recently her class connected with classrooms in the United States and China. The Chinese students were eager to learn how Mrs. Szalay’s class also used Twitter.

Mrs. Szalay’s class has received a variety of fantastic questions from methods to teach math, the weather, local natural resources and reading. For example, once her students completed a book by author Peter Reynolds, he answered one of their questions about his book. Mrs. Szalay noted that the “kids loved that!” Just imagine how exciting it would be to have the author tweet you a message about the book you just read in class! What a great way to impact learning!

Mrs. Szalay and her students are hoping to launch the “Tweeter of the Day”. We are all very excited to see what that may look like! 

Overall: Their twitter experience has been positive so far. Though parents may initially be hesitant to follow the class, once they do, the feedback is really great. They especially love seeing live pictures of field trips and other class activities. This positive outcome allows parents to ask specific questions about their child’s learning experiences in school. For example they view the tweets and ask questions such as, “What did you learn about growth mindset today?”, rather than, "How was school today?”

Ms Szalay asked her students what they thought about Twitter and here are a few student thoughts.

 

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Some Example Tweets:

coll groups

bus

field trip

mask

math

swans

what we learned

Mrs. Szalay’s class is a great example of the impact and possibilities that Twitter (and other forms of social media) can have on teaching and learning. As well as, teaching students to be responsible social media users. 

Mrs. Szalay’s class is just one example of effectively engaging students with responsible social media practices through inquiry based learning. With this in mind, we invite every class to use social media as a tool to unlock new worlds of possibilities.