The power of Twitterverse never ceases to amaze me. When you put that power and opportunity in the hands of highly qualified and passionate educators, there literally are no limits to what is possible for teaching and learning.
I received a tweet this week from @mrstg, a 5th grade teacher from NW Iowa. She was so excited that here class would be connecting with an Iowa Senator, Charles Grassley, in the coming weeks, and it all happened as a result of one tweet!
I’ll let her finish the “rest of the story.”
Yep, it’s true! My @mrstgskiddos are scheduled to Skype with Senator @ChuckGrassley in two weeks. We also just got news this morning that we get to MEET Governor @TerryBranstad while we are on our field trip to the state capital next week. Both of these meetings came about through Twitter.
This all started less than four weeks ago when I met @teacher6th at the Iowa Reading Conference. We had both been tweeting during the sessions and decided we should meet in person. She was presenting at the conference and asked me to “backchannel” during her session. One of the things she spoke about that got my attention was her classroom Twitter account. She had used it to connect with other classrooms and authors. Sounded like a great idea!
So I went back home and set up the @mrstgskiddos account, began “following” some authors and classrooms, and in the process, stumbled upon the governor’s Twitter account. As my 5th graders are studying Iowa history this quarter, I thought we’d follow a few politicians. I nonchalantly tweeted.:
Within 24 hours I had an email from Senator Grassley’s office saying they would be happy to set up a Skype call with the kids. Then I we got a reply on Twitter from Governor Branstad’s office saying they would be happy to submit our questions to the governor and through a series of ten tweets he replied to our questions.
At this age (11-12 years old) @mrstgskiddos are not real aware of political debates. Instead they are extremely curious about why these two men would choose to serve our state in this way and want to know more about them as people. However, as we are researching their backgrounds and positions, the kids are becoming more aware of current issues and are asking amazing questions.
So, we are going to practice using Skype with our principal and superintendent in the next couple of weeks so we can do some troubleshoot and practice some of our questions on them. What was most surprising is the amount of hands that shot up when I asked for volunteers to ask the questions for us. We also have two scribes that will take notes and write a short reflection that will be added to our website where we have begun posting our “Famous Iowans” reports (http://famousiowans.shutterfly.com). Finally, we have one student in charge of the Flip video camera and who will post a movie of the interview on that site as well.
I am working on getting the KIDS to take charge of this whole thing. They are beginning to see the promise of their future where they can communicate with the world beyond the classroom walls, have an immediate audience with senators and governors, and make a difference! By putting this technology in the hands of my students, they certainly are becoming more PASSIONATE about their learning! We are taking these small introductory steps (actually they seem rather BIG to us right now), and I can’t wait to see what we can do NEXT year!
Oh, and as for meeting the governor? Well, I simply tweeted
MrsTG Michelle TG
@TerryBranstad My @mrstgskiddos will be riding 4 hrs 2visit DesMoines next week. Would love chance to personally say thx 4 twitter response.
And for the FIRST time in over 16 years of visiting the capitol building, Hospers Elementary 5th graders will get their picture taken with the governor!
Yep, all because a few weeks ago I set up a classroom twitter account.
Soooo, let me ask you this: Do you have a Twitter account? What are you waiting for? Think of the possibilities !
- Twitter – Expanding our Classrom – Shrinking the World (freetech4teachers.com)
- Tearing Down Your Classroom Walls (freetech4teachers.com)
- Twitter 101 – Pre Twitter: Your Means To Achieve Success In Business (entouragepoint.typepad.com)
- Our Skype Other Classrooms list has been updated – Are your contact details on the list? (theedublogger.com)
- Dot Earth: Twitter in the Classroom – The Sequel (dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Skype Launches a Dedicated Network for Teachers (mashable.com)
- “Communicating and Connecting with Social Media [excerpt]” and related posts (teacherleaders.typepad.com)
- Twitter in the Classroom and Twitter Posters (ilearntechnology.com)