I have thought a lot about the benefits of something like this for my class and decided they far outweighed the negatives. (I also got approval from my principal, which is always important when taking on something new like this in an elementary school classroom or any classroom for that matter. Technology can be shaky ground for some people...)
When making my list of why I wanted to do this (to present in case there was confusion about my motive) I came up with these five things...
1. Parents will definitely be/stay "in the loop" if they follow our class twitter. They will be made aware of important dates, field trip reminders, class celebrations, reading/math tips and tricks, and of course homework due dates.
2. My students will get another opportunity to WRITE. Each day (or as often as we can) I plan to allow my students to update the twitter page. They will only be allowed the normal "140 characters" to type something they learned or their favorite part of the day. I love teaching writing and including writing in EVERY single subject that I teach. This is just one more time when my students will get to stop and think about what they think is the most important part of our day (aside from recess) and then write about it. In my opinion this really is reflective writing at its best! Short, sweet, and something that can be pulled up later to elaborate on if need be.
3. My students will be fully engaged. What kid do you know that doesn't LOVE technology? When I think about my past students there is not a single one of them that doesn't catch on faster than I do and doesn't know more than I do in regards to technology (and I really love technology, so that's saying a lot). However, this is exactly why we need to embrace new technology and social networks and engage our students on an entirely new level.
4. I want to teach my students how to use technology and social networks responsibly. There are far too many people that are using the Internet and technology in irresponsible and inappropriate ways and I will have NONE of that in my classroom. I want to educate them now as 7 and 8 year olds so that as they grow up they have at least one positive and empowering encounter (that I know of) with technology.
5. It will be fun! As a teacher sometimes (while I hate to admit it) I get bored too. If I am not constantly thinking of new ways to engage my students they are not the only people in the room that want to fall asleep! I want to be effective and I want my students to remember this year. Thinking outside of the box is one way to do just that! Our new Twitter page will give us something to look forward to at the end of the day too.
So what do you think? Any suggestions? Have you heard of someone else doing this? I would love to hear your thoughts...and wish me luck! (I am working with 7 and 8 year olds...remember!?)