Twitter in the 21st Century Classroom


Please watch the short introduction video.


The aim of the Twitter event is for you to participate in learning of what Twitter is, how it can be used in your classroom and the different types there are. For the event to be of benefit to you it expects that you participate in the activities so that you can actually see/feel how Twitter works, and see it working in a real life situation. By participating in the activities it is easier to comprehend how you can apply your learning to your classroom situation.

Enjoy and Learn

So what is Twitter?

Twitter began over 6 years ago. It started as a SMS  (Short Message Service) service which has now evolved into a website used by over 1 million users across the globe (Hamilton, 2012).

Twitter is a Micro-blogging  tool that combines elements of blogging with instant messaging and social networking (Mayfield, 2012).   Messages are limited to 140 characters which may at first seem very short but once you become adept at Twittering the amount of information that can be relayed via these 140 characters is astounding. Twitter like other forms of instant messaging has developed its own language to enable you to say a lot in a very short amount of characters.

Why use Twitter?

Some people use Twitter simply to see what is going on in the world in real-time. Whether it’s with global news, activities within companies or industries, or in their own personal and business networks. Others use it as a means of mass-communication, as it enables them to communicate to a broad spectrum of people rather than going about the tedious task of relaying the same message individually. Even more people use Twitter for branding purposes, whether it is to push their companies or their personal agenda. Other uses include marketing, reputation-management, or simply personal use with the doctrine of continuously telling the world how you feel, 140 characters at a time (Teachers for Twitter, 2012). Twitter can reach thousands of people in one go or a whole class.

This is an example of a tweet from an educator

QR codes in education … via @SBEducation #Edchat

But what does all this mean? In this tweet of only 140 characters it gives us-

1. A link to the smart blog site and the article QR codes in education

2. The @SBEducation refers to Smart Blog which is an education blog

3. #Edchat Adding hashtags to tweets help users find updates on specific subjects.

Twitter is best known for a platform for celebrities to engage with their public but Twitter in now much, much more.   Well known educator Tom Whitby, (2012) states

‘Too bad an application of social media like Twitter was developed for such a frivolous purpose. It was set up so that people could quickly send stupid, unimportant information to other people. It allows celebrities to conduct meaningless discussions with fans. It enables an exchange of useless and silly websites, blog posts, videos, and live, celebrity interviews. It is really a waste of a good application’.

And further states ‘Twitter is used by many educators as the backbone to their professional learning network’ (2012)  Below is the link to the full article

Again: Relevance, Why Twitter?

Whitby wrote this article in frustration of why teachers are not using  Twitter and points out that such a tool is needed in today’s education systems and until a better tool explicitly for educational use is developed Twitter is the next best thing.

As a new Twitterer, I too,  have found that understanding this messaging system to be like learning another language. But as many of the experienced Twitterers say,  “hang in there”.  As it does get easier.

Twitter in the Classroom

Many educators do not see the relevance of Twitter as useful tool in a 21st century classroom. Many are worried about the same safety issues that have been raised with other forms of social media such as facebook.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), in a draft paper ‘Shape of the Australian Curriculum -Technologies (March 2012, p7) states that

   ‘ Information an Communication Technologies and social media in particular, have revolutionised the pace of change and nature of learning, recreational activities and work.  It has given access to new ways of thinking and communicating for all ages and abilities. The now ubiquitous nature of digital technologies resulting from digitalisation, the miniaturisation and embedding of microelectronics into a range of products, and wireless networking, means students of all ages and abilities expect to be able to play, learn and study anytime and anywhere, and to design and produce solutions using design and computational and traditional, contemporary an emerging technologies.’   (link to this paper is at the end of this page)

The Australian curriculum explicitly states the use of Twitter in ( ACARA, 2012 )

Content description ACELY1765
Content description English / Year 7 / Literacy   / Texts in context   
Analyse and explain the   effect of technological innovations on texts, particularly media texts
  1. investigating the influence on        written language of communicative technologies like SMS, text, email and        Twitter
  2. analysing the impact of interactive        elements of digital magazines
Code ACELY1765 General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Information and communication technology        capability
  • Critical and creative thinking
Please take the time to complete this simple poll –

As an future educator, I too did not see its relevance to the classroom but research has shown me it is more than just a Personal Learning Network (PLN)  tool, but an excellent communication tool for all our students. Research (Whitby, 2012, Mayfield, 2012, Hamilton, 2012,) also shows that many of our students are already using many forms of social media so the how to part is often already done for us. It is how we can use these tools in our classroom that often draws a blank.

Event activities

This event is about you, your learning and your teaching.  Think about it as you go through the activities. How did  you feel? What frustrated you?  What did you find interesting? What and how you could apply what you have learnt to your classroom?

Leave your comments/reflections at the bottom of the page.

As part of this event we ask you to:

1.  Set up a Twitter account

2. Follow a particular person (like your teacher, an expert (in a particular field) or fellow students in a classroom situation)

3. Post tweets

4. Create a tweetstory

5. Comment on our experiences and likelihood of using twitter in our classroom

6. Explore a form of twitter especially for the lower primary years- Twiducate.

7. Respond to the discussion question at the end of this page

I have set up a Twitter account that is specifically for this event. Bear in mind that I am no expert and also learning the lingo and functions as I go,  but have found some interesting ways to use Twitter, whilst engaging and motivating students’ participation. Unknowingly they learn as they complete these activities. You will participate in one such activity.

So firstly you need to sign up to Twitter.  Go to and then watch this short video which explains the what Twitter is and how to sign up, follow people and tweet.


So Now What?

I want you to follow me on Twitter. How?  Simply click on follow button after you have searched my Twitter name  @MichelleIrving7.

Try out a tweet or two. You can search topics and choose people to follow. Try searching education, education Queensland, USQ or even a particular area of education you are interested in such as Maths or English. This way you find and best of all can connect with people who have similar interests as yourself.

The reason I wanted you to sign up to Twitter was to highlight what a great tool it is for your PLN but more importantly to highlight to you how to use it in your classroom.

This link is a list of education Twitter accounts that you can follow.

Don’t forget if you find the content of particular tweeter are not appropriate you can ‘unfollow’ them.

Remember, you can gain a lot of knowledge from the 140 characters in the tweets. I recommend Educhat which is Twitter for teachers.  This is a great resource for gaining knowledge, understanding and connection to other in the education field. There are ‘conversations’ every Tuesday and everyone is invited. Not sure how to tweet? Just jump right in someone will always be on hand to show you the way.

 Example of how to use Twitter in your classroom.

Taken from we will write a’ tweetstory’ with the use of twitter and twitterfall.

Using the following steps we will create a story:

  • Create a ‘tweetstory’.
    1. First…Choose your theme
      • Genre – Fairy Tale, Sports Story, Adventure etc.
      • Give it a standard story opener and tweet this to your network
      • Ask network to continue the story in tweets using Twitter, collaborating with the previous tweets and following them  a #tag

      We will use #EDC3100story

      • Using the hashtag allows you to follow the story. Do not forget to put it at the end of your tweet or we will not be able to follow.
    2. Then…students follow via twitterfall, choose the best ones and edit them into a coherent story
      • Great for editing skills, story structure etc.
      • Where will your network take the story?
  • Go to on the panel on the left hand side add #EDC3100story to your searches, then sign in to Twitter (lower down on the left hand side). This connects your Twitter page to Twitterfall and watch the tweetstory develop.

Just for fun, piece together a whole story and post to our blog. I would love to see how you have used the tweets. I will after the close of the event post a tweetstory for everyone to read.

This is just one example of how Twitter can be used creatively in the classroom. It has many applications. Just Google Twitter in the classroom and you will be amazed of how some teachers are using it in their classrooms.

Have fun and explore.

Twiducate is an excellent tool to introduce younger students to social networking. It is controlled, private and secure. It gives a safe space to chat and ask questions, and to have a few extra benefits like sharing due dates and important web links.

Note:  if your goal is for your students to freely connect to the outside world, make connections to experts and learn more about global events, you will need to use Twitter.


The main downside to Twiducate is also its main selling point; everything on Twiducate is private. The Teacher control is at the centre of Twiducate. Teachers select student usernames and passwords are allocated by Twiducate. Students do not have to enter any personal information or email address to gain access. This is especially good for younger students who are still learning about online safety and privacy (SAGrader, 2010).  It is impossible to connect with outsiders in Twiducate (that is students cannot search for people outside of the people the teacher has included as part of the class). Twiducate can be a very useful tool for teacher/student and classroom communication. Collaboration is possible by the teacher inviting other teachers, experts or groups of students to the class site but they must be added by the teacher ensuring student safety.

Twiducate allows users to comment on the posts of their classmates and teacher. In this way, it operates slightly like a message board. This feature allows teachers and students to provide feedback or to have a conversation about a specific topic without changing the “timeline” (the progression of messages shared). This can be beneficial if the two (or more) classmates want to have a discussion on a more specific question or topic without changing the overall nature of the discussion on Twiducate.

Try out Twiducate

In this activity you will be a student of my class EDC3100. The access to the class page will be  as a student so you will be viewing from a students perspective.

Please choose a student name and password from the list below

John 624461             Emily 139499

George 358983        Karen 151226

David 41784             Sue 344242

Ben 275475             Mary 694130

Nick 953663            Sarah 44867

Go to our twiducate page   and log on to our class edc 3100,  as a student and then type in the short message which is a security function.

Explore the class site, post a message, click on the important dates and links.  Note: these are set up by the class teacher.

You will notice that I have set up the bio’s and avatars of a couple of students. Try this out. Choose an avatar, and write a bio for your student.

Write a message on the page.

If there are other students try the chat function at the bottom of the page.

Note: you can upload student photos instead of using the avatars.

Teachers –

The process of setting up of a twiducate is simple. You just need to decide the course/class name (I used EDC3100) and enter your email address.

As a teacher you must enter your email address each time you sign in. Along with typing in a short message.

If you want to add other teachers you have to have their email address to add them. You control who has access your to page.

Adding students is a simple process of just adding their names or nick names and the site produces the pass word. If a student forgets there password the teacher has access to these on her class student page.

It is very simple to navigate the page and set up the important dates, add links to websites that are relevant to topics being studied.

These are just a few of the basic  applications as . I am sure you once you set up your own class page can explore and find more applications

Discussion Question

Twitter is a form of social media with a ‘bad rap’ due to its use by celebrities.  Do you believe, after using Twitter that it is a useful form of social media for the classroom? Explain.

Also please feel free to leave feedback, comments, insights and other ways to use Twitter.


http:// your participation.

Some great websites/resources for you to explore on Twitter, Twiducate and how to use these in your classroom.
How to use Twitter in the Classroom

Social Learning Centre

Has some great resources, webinars (online seminars), events etc to help you with any area of social media. Just sign up for free and enrol in any of the great courses or read any of the articles.

  1. Kim Sandford says:

    P – I think the real time aspect could easily be supported in specific lessons.
    M – I personally wouldn’t use twitter in the class as students (especially highschool would take every opportunity to use it for all the wrong reasons, in saying that ….
    I – I think that Twiducate could be an excellent classroom tool.

    • Michelle Irving says:

      Hi Kim
      It seems everyone highlights the problems with Twitter but do not see the excellent learning tool it can be. yes it is open to everyone but the links to other educators, experts and students around the world I think outweighs this.
      If you explore Twitter it is being used by many, many, many educators to exchange ideas, discuss recent events, and to connect with educators around the world. I think if you explore #educhat you will be surprised at the conversations being held. Each Tuesday a ‘conversion’ occurs and anyone interested can join. I have not participated but have read a few of these conversations and the amount of information passed on is amazing.

      Twiducate is an excellent tool. One I too will use in my classroom. It is safe and secure which is great for younger students.
      I ask this of you.

      Do you watch your children every minute of the day? Do you know everything they do? Can you be sure they have not talked to someone that you do not know? How is this not different from using social media? We need to also trust our students to do the right thing. Yes there some students who will no matter what the situation is will do what they are told not to or go on sites that are questionable but what about the rest who do, do what they are meant to? Do we keep holding them back from the 21st century technologies? Do we not give them our trust and belief in them to use these forms of media respectfully and as intended?

      Michelle Irving

  2. Bec White says:

    I tried entering the class Twiducate page but couldn’t get in.

    • I Bec
      Not sure what went wrong. I just logged In as a student to make sure it worked.
      did you follow the link?
      Log in as a students.
      Put in the correct password?
      and put in the security message?

      try again and let me know how you go.

      • Martina Sellars says:

        Hi Bec

        One possibility is that you entered the students name as the class code? Well that’s what I was doing wrong…

        Enter the class code as EDC3100, and then just the number password as the password.

        Hope that helps?

        – Martina

  3. Martina Sellars says:

    Hi there

    My thoughts are as follows:

    – Able to sustain conversations/stories through a number of applications
    – Able to link up and follow any number of groups/people
    – Hash tags can make it easier to follow
    – Seen as ‘cool’ to students
    – Able to network with other professionals

    – Would probably need to use the specific educational applications to ensure students stay on task
    – Difference from other social media – takes a bit of time to get used to

    – Twiducate to keep an online discussion

    I just found this section a little overwhelming in regards to the number of activities. In the end, I gave up and had to scan the content given that the time constraints to finish another website.

    Just my personal thoughts. But it was definitely interesting given that I am a Twitter virgin.

    – Martina

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Michelle,
      I agree with you that Twitter is an excellent learning tool. Have learned so much since signing up for a Twitter account and following different threads. I would use it in the classroom because it’s easy to operate, has loads of useful information that’s very readily available for teachers and students, seems safe and secure. I have seen it being used in an upper primary class & when it was initially set up, the students were excited to be using it, but then they started to realise just how useful it is. Like much of our digital technology, it is much faster and more effective than anything else on offer. I so agree with you, Michelle, about the security aspect. If we banned everything that may be harmful, we wouldn’t have too much left, would we?

    • Hi Martina
      On reflection there was probably a lot to deal with but I wanted to try and show what twitter is and how it can actually be used in the classroom which many do not think is possible. I think many forget that Twitter is just micro blogging.

      twiducate is excellent for introducing students to blogging and teaching the responsibilities of using social media. If we teach in the younger years and build then students will have a better attitude to social media and how to communicate responsibly.

      thank you for your honest feedback. we aiming for the event to utilize the full two hours allowed. your welcome to come back and follow up any ideas or activities.

  4. Ashleigh says:

    Twitter is very relevant to students lives. However Twitucate is far more appropriate for students as it is a a student’s level, safer and easier for a teacher to monitor. I like how Twitucate supports communication, as well as reminding students of key dates and having a section for good websites to be bookmarked.

    There is a lot of inappropriate content on Twitter. Students could abuse their accounts and teachers cannot do much to stop it.

    I like the hashtags and trending features. They are a great way to group information and to keep relevant.

    • Chris McCann says:

      Thanks for your contributions Ashleigh. I agree that Twitucate is a fantastic tool that teachers can utilise for their students.
      Many of our students are already participating in the world of Twitter so their familiarity (appropriate content aside) is something we should definitely take advantage of. After all, isn’t it just another skill that they are developing?
      Many of them comment on the trending content and utilise hash-tags already so incorporating them into our plans seems like a relevant and authentic way to engage their interest.
      Thanks again,
      Christine (for Michelle at this late hour).

      • Michelle Irving says:

        Thank you Christine for replying on my behalf.
        I agree and know that the tools that students are already using in their personal lives can be incorporated into the classroom it is just finding the ways and I think we have shown and provided some.
        Twiducate is a great resource and I too like the fact that you can put up reminders, links to websites we are using in class. Students can access this from home and communicate with all the class including the teacher. Imagine if you are doing an assignment at home over the weekend and could post a question of your teacher and fellow classmates instead of having to wait till Monday?
        I know I have learnt a lot and will continue as I explore the various forms of social media. We began with these 4 to give you a taste of what you can do. The rest is up to you!
        And thanks for participating.

  5. Ana Gonzalez says:

    Yes I believe using twitter in the classroom is a worthwhile activity for students. I think twitter can be one of the many web tools used. As teachers we need to have a variety of tools to test and use having in mind our students. Reflection on using twitter is important. While twitter might work very well with one cohort of students it may be of not much use for another group.

    I have a bit of concern in using it with younger students but I believe it could work really well with older students. It is important to always think and come back to the real purpose of using this tool or any other.

    • that was my concern to and why I included Twiducate as younger students can be taught the rules for using social media in safety of a closed blog. Youinvite the people you want to the blog. Twitter though allows older students to do so many things it is endless and restricted only by our inability to use it.
      I do agree that one group of students may embrace Twitter whilst others may not
      I must admit I still am a novice but one of my fellow event organizers has grabbed onto Twitter and embraced it.

    • Kim Sandford says:

      Hi Ana, I agree that it possibly is not a tool for the ECE years as the students would have difficulty understanding the general Twitter etiquette and possibly even the whole concept of ‘I can’t see where it is going so why are we doing it?’. But on the other hand the upper grades could make use of this as a global collaborative tool to Tweet to their sister schools on the other side of the globe, exchanging information on geology, weather and culture. It would certainly be worth looking into.

      Cheers Kim Sandford

  6. Bec White says:

    Thanks for you reply I worked it out. I have not used or seen Twitter being used in the classroom but after reading the above information, participating in the activity and reading everyone else’s comments I can clearly see its relevance. I can not wait to get into the classroom and try out these techniques, I am sure I will learn from the use of social media in the classroom just as students are learning from it.

  7. Results of poll

    What are your concerns about using forms of social media in the classroom such as Twitter?

    Safety of the students 30% (3 votes)

    Relevance 30% (3 votes)

    Time to be able to use another ICT 10% (1 votes)

    Don’t know how to use Twitter 10% (1 votes)

    Time 20% (2 votes)

    Total Votes: 10

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