Porridge, Ghana and that Friday feeling: Twitter breaks out in the classroom

It all started innocuously enough. Friday afternoon. 5 minutes silent reading before the true start of the final lesson of the day.
It’s hard to remember where the first comment came from or what it was about.
It may have been about the picture of a Ghana beach. Or the one of the exploding porridge in the microwave. Or my recent leaning towards posting Friday feeling type photos on my timeline.
Whatever, it was clear that my Twitter profile is now officially ‘out there’ in the public, student-populated domain. It had always been in my plan to try to collaborate with a limited group of students on Twitter. It’s just that I hadn’t planned it to be just yet.
However, the time had arrived. So, we went for it.
We took the first 25 minutes of the lesson to discuss how many students in this year 9 class had Twitter (three quarters, it would appear) and it was clear that there was an audience for our work outside the classroom. We then spent time talking about what was appropriate and what was not appropriate to  post on this forum. We then turned our attention to the possibilities, which included the sharing of good language-learning sites, weekly challenges and on-line creative and collaborative language work. At the same time, I wanted to reassure the non-Twitter users that they would not be missing out on the fundamental language-learning experience. That would still take place lesson by lesson in the classroom. I  am planning to inform the parents of the students in this class about our plans to work together in this way, just to ensure everyone knows of our plans.
This may be a first for our school.
As with most on-line initiatives, it is hard to know where this might end. I am hopeful that it will be a project that students will treat with respect and that will engage and enthuse them. This is certainly a time to boldly go ….
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