This blog is for educators, academicians, students and those who are interasted to integrate technology in class room.

Archive for August, 2013

The Twitter Guide for Teachers

Twitter can be an incredible tool for both teachers and students when used correctly. As a teacher, your role in the process is to be professional, understanding, and as creative as possible. In regards to Twitter, the possibilities are as endless as you make them. At the Teachers Guide to Twitter you will find: How as a teacher can you effectively utilize Twitter, a creative writing lesson plan using Twitter, 15 creative ways to use Twitter in the classroom, and 17 videos on how as a teacher can you use Twitter in classroom!

Justin Bieber has 40.3 million followers. Lady Gaga, who was recently bumped from the number one spot, is at number two with 38 million followers. Katy Perry comes in at number three with 37.7 million followers while Barack Obama, the 44th President of The United States, has 32.6 million followers.
This amazing “at the speed of light” way to communicate with millions of people precisely at the same exact time has given these four people, and many others, a powerful voice. And what do they have to say?

Justin Bieber and Barack Obama’s tweets are often inspirational and uplifting, such as Justin’s “believe in yourself” and Obama’s “Congrats to Michael Phelps for breaking the all-time Olympic record medal. You’ve made your country proud”.  On the other hand, some celebrities and everyday people abandon Twitter Etiquette altogether and use it to lash out at other individuals or as a sounding board for personal problems.

Used responsibly and with some humility, Twitter is a fantastic learning tool.  As a teacher, you can create a professional Twitter account entirely separate from any personal accounts you may have.  And if you haven’t already signed up for Twitter, here is a brief introduction to get started using this amazing communication device to engage student learning and effectively communicate with students and parents.

How Can Teachers Effectively Utilize Twitter?

What is Twitter?
Twitter is a unique social media platform known as a microblogging service.  Users have 140 characters to create a message that accurately and completely conveys what they are trying to say. This is called a Tweet.  Here is more terminology.
Twitter Terminology

  • Tweet:  An individual post.
  • Retweet (RT):  Retweeting someone else’s Tweet.
  • @username:  This is an open message to a specific person.
  • Message:  This is a private, direct message to a follower.
  • #Hashtag:  A tag, such as #shakespeare, that tracks groups and discussions.  #Hashtags are used to organize information.  Anyone at anytime can make a #hashtag by typing a phrase proceeded by the number symbol.
  • Groups:  Allows users to place followers in a single feed.  For example, your students would group followers of your @username.  When tweeting your followers, they receive you tweet instantaneously and simultaneously.

How to create a Twitter account
To create a Twitter account, simply go to and fill in the section that reads, “New to Twitter? Sign up”.  You will be sent to a page that allows you to create a username, verify that you’re human, and complete the setup process. Remember that your username is included in your 140-character limit so try to choose a short one.

Twitter Tips for your Teacher Account

Everything you say on Twitter can be seen by your followers. It is important to keep your Twitter account professional and separate from any personal Twitter accounts you may have.  Also use a professional picture and create a professional biography.  It is not recommended to follow students Twitter accounts or directly message them.  Also, students and parents don’t need a Twitter account to follow your tweets.  You just need to supply them with your Twitter name.

I highly encourage you to follow your school’s social media policies. Chances are your school has a written guideline for using social media tools such as Twitter. This is where you should begin your research for including Twitter in your lesson plans and classroom culture.  Your school’s guide should let you know how you can and cannot use Twitter as a learning tool and whether or not students require parental permission to follow you on Twitter.

A Creative Writing Lesson Plan Using Twitter

There are many ways you can include Twitter in your Lesson Plans, no matter what the subject.  Here is a detailed lesson that you can adapt to fit your students and your subject.

Creative Writing and Twitter

Students often wonder what to write about and how to come up with ideas to keep writing.  Use Twitter to help them brainstorm and define plot and character (for a history paper they can use Twitter to help each other organize ideas).

Have students work in teams to brainstorm story ideas on Twitter.

  • Step 1
    Have the groups tweet their ideas to their group followers using the classroom #hashtag.  This technological conversation will guide the students through the brainstorming process.  Remember to set a deadline for a final idea and a minimum number of participatory Tweets for each student.  By the end of the Tweeting session, typically a class period, the students will have a good idea of what their story is about.
  • Step 2
    Plot development. Use two or three class periods to move the story forward by having the students Tweet a timeline, basically a “what happens next” time log.  The students will cooperatively develop the story, establishing time, setting, and twists and turns.
  • Step 3
    Develop characters through character sketches. Start by having the groups describe the physical characteristics of their characters.  Clothes, hair color, build, age, and gender are examples.  They will answer questions such as “What is the character’s situation?” and  “What are his or her goals?”

With all of this information, have each student write a rough draft.  Even though they brainstormed and developed together, each story will be individually unique.  Use this cooperative strategy a few times, changing up the groups, and your students will become pros at character and plot development.

15 Creative Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom

Twitter can be used for more than just lesson plans.  As a classroom tool for teachers, Twitter will help you save time, prepare students for tests, keep everyone organized and on top of important announcements.  Here are 15 creative ways to use Twitter in your classroom.

  1. Conduct research
    By using #hashtags, students can find a wealth of information on any subject, giving them quick access to up-to-date information.
  2. Link classrooms around the world
    Collaborate with students and teachers from around the world by using Twitter.  Learn about other cultures and languages.
  3. Ask questions
    You can use Twitter to keep a stream of questions flowing in during lectures for any computer-enabled classroom.
  4. Role Play
    Make history lessons fun and engaging by having students take on the identity of a famous historical figure by tweeting famous quotes, facts, and ideas about this individual.
  5. Take and share notes
    Twitter makes it easy for students to share notes with each other during and after lessons.  Notes can also be printed out and shared.
  6. Write reviews
    For literature and media studies, students can use Twitter to write short reviews of movies, books, and music.
  7. Post sample questions and homework assignments
    Teacher’s like saving time and paper.  Use Twitter to post sample questions for upcoming tests, homework assignments, and supplementary materials and forget about those last minute mad dashes to the copy machine.
  8. World Studies – Comparing Religions
    Even the Pope Tweets!  Many religious institutions and religious figures use Twitter to communicate with followers and discuss their beliefs and teachings.  You can create a lesson plan that compares two or more religious faiths by following an institutions and individuals on Twitter.
  9. Post syllabus changes
    Use Tweets to Keep everyone up-to-date on syllabus changes, class cancellations and other important class related news and announcements.
  10. Track a country or state’s weather patterns
    Have each student choose a country or state to track over a specified amount of time.  Encourage students to choose a location that experiences varied or severe weather patterns, such as Rhode Island or Jamaica. Students can chart their findings, making scientific notes and then discuss these weather patterns with their peers.
  11. Create a group poem
    Have a student start with the first line of a poem with each student adding a line one after the other.  To determine the order in which students participate, have them draw numbers out of a hat.  Make it a free form poem or a rhyming poem or any kind of poem you want.  After the poem is completed, display it in the classroom.
  12. Riddles and trivia and other eye-openers
    No matter what you subject you teach – math, history, literature or science – use Twitter to post various subject-related riddles, trivia, or other questions that will get your student’s brains working.  Award prizes and privileges for correct answers.  You can have students answer individually or in groups.
  13. Post your videos
    Having your fifth graders perform a little Shakespeare at the next school fundraiser event?  Record it and post the video for students and parents to treasure forever.  You can record and post clips of in-class skits, fieldtrips and other educational adventures.
  14. Network with colleagues
    Use Twitter to follow other teachers whose expertise can supply you with ideas for classroom lessons.  This is an especially effective tool for novice teachers to use.
  15. Summarize
    At the end of a lesson or lecture, ask students to type a 140-character or less summary of what they learned.  You can also have them post questions as part of their assessment.

How Teachers can use Twitter in Classroom! – 17 YouTube videos!

1) To Tweet Or Not To Tweet
In this 5 minutes-or-so video, Marc-André Lalande explain some of the advantages of using Twitter in education.

2) Twitter for Teachers
An introduction to how Twitter can help teachers with their professional development

3) Teaching with Twitter
Using Twitter for Teaching, Learning and Professional Development in Higher Education.

4) Twitter For Educators
Twitter for educators provides good logic on why educators should use Twitter and how it can help them form a community, share resources, and meet people worldwide.

5) Twitter for Teachers

6) Teachers need Twitter
A brief video explaining how useful Twitter is for keeping current in technologies, pedagogy, and creativity.

7) Twitter for Teachers
Educators on Twitter share articles, blog links, research and engage in ongoing conversations that help us learn, grow and be better teachers.

8) Twitter-Using Teachers
Prof. Angie Wassenmiller, director of instructional technology and e-learning at Concordia, talks about personal learning networks (PLN) why teachers should thinking about using Twitter.

9) Teacher Tips: Using Twitter in the Classroom
Your students, parents, and colleagues can follow what’s happening in your class on their cell phones by connecting to you via twitter

10) How to use Twitter for the K-12 classroom
Learn how to use Twitter in the K-12 classroom for any subject, in 5 minutes or less.

11) Twitter for PE Teachers
In this video I show PE Teachers how to join in with the amazing discussion and resource sharing that is Twitter and the #pegeeks

12) Using Twitter to Build a PLN – How Twitter Inspired One SDW Teacher
Twitter is just one tool that can be used to build a PLN. Listen to Waukesha West Social Studies Teacher Dale Van Keuren talk about his experience with Twitter, specifically how it has refreshed, informed, and invigorated his teaching practice.

13) Academic Excellence in 140 Characters
This is a video created by one of Rey Junco’s students to summarize the research we conducted on the effects of Twitter on student engagement and grades.

14) Twitter in the Classroom on CNN
I started using Twitter in the classroom and instantly saw the kids take to it. New technology, a new model.

15) Twitter in the classroom?
High schoolers at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, Minn. are being engaged in the classroom in a whole new way. By using social media tools and giving them access to the Internet, students are able to learn in different ways. Having discussions about their English class online has increased their level of attention and engagement in their studies.

17) Twitter Tour For Teachers
If you’re a teacher who’s brand new to social media and not sure where to start, let me take you on a tour of Twitter and show you one of the easiest ways to connect with others in the profession.

17) 4 Great Twitter Applications for Teachers Using Twitter In The Classroom
These tools offer free functionality that extend and enhance the possibilities for instructional uses of Twitter. Teachers are finding new ways to use Twitter to engage their students, build stronger academic and professional relationships, and to share information in a richer learning environment, and they are using tools like these to bring more fun and functionality to the process.

These are just a few of the ways you can effectively use Twitter in the classroom. Competing with Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga isn’t easy.  In today’s modern world, celebrities are becoming more and more influential in our student’s lives. So how can you get your students to follow you on Twitter It’s simple. Make it mandatory and make it fun. Happy Tweeting!


Other Twitter learning resource:


15 Inspiring TED Talks for a newcomer at a university, college, or high school.

1. Angela Lee Duckworth: The Key to Success? Grit

In need of a motivational pick-me-up? In this quick and inspiring talk, former seventh grade teacher Angela Lee Duckworth describes her realization that IQ is not necessarily a good indicator of which students would succeed and which ones would struggle. She argues that what it really takes to succeed is “grit.”

2. Dan Gilbert: The Surprising Science of Happiness

According to Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, sometimes our notions of what will make us happy and what will make us miserable are way off. Humans have an amazing ability to create our own happiness, and that synthetic happiness is “every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you stumble upon when you get exactly what you were aiming for.” This one is a must.

3. Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree

There’s a strong chance you’ll have your fair share of group projects this semester. In this important talk, Margaret Heffernan, former CEO of five businesses, illustrates how the best research teams and companies are those in which its employees deeply disagree.

4. Andy Puddicombe: All it Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes

Between dance team, ultimate frisbee club, volunteering and—oh, right—lectures, your life’s crazy factor is about to go way up. In this entertaining and informative talk, mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe teaches us how to be “more healthy, more mindful and less distracted” by taking just 10 minutes out of the day to be more present.

5. Larry Smith: Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career

We humans have an excellent ability to make excuses for ourselves. Larry Smith, a professor of economics at the University of Waterloo in Canada, tells us why most of us will fail to have a great career. But there is a way out — if you take the initiative to pursue your passion.

6. Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

Does a cup of tea and a good book sound like a perfect Friday night? In this personal talk, Susan Cain argues that introverts have important talents and abilities that need to be accepted and nurtured. Our culture may value being social and outgoing, but the world needs all kinds.

7. Matt Cutts: Try Something New for 30 Days

College is the perfect time to try something new. See something on campus that strikes your fancy? Quidditch, perhaps? Matt Cutts, engineer at Google, says you should try it for 30 days. It’s a great way to achieve your goals and incorporate some dimension into your life.

8. David Kelley: How to Build Your Creative Confidence

Are you a numbers person or more of the creative type? Though most of us probably have an answer to that question, David Kelley argues that we shouldn’t be asking it. Everyone has the potential to create, as long as they have the confidence. Learn about how to build your creative confidence in this important talk.

9. Shane Koyczan: To This Day… For the Bullied and Beautiful

This talk is sure to stay with you. Shane Koyczan’s “To This Day” is an affecting spoken-word poem about bullying and being different that gained over 10 million views on YouTube. In this talk, Koyczan gives a live reading of the poem, along with some stories about his background.

10. Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

It may feel like a lifetime, but it wasn’t that long ago that you were twelve years old. In this eye-opening talk, child prodigy Adora Svitak encourages you not to lose touch with “childish” thinking. It’s the childlike ability to dream big and be optimistic that will allow you to create innovative ideas, if you let it.

11. Derek Sivers: How to Start a Movement

In this short but memorable talk, Derek Sivers illustrates how a movement gets going using footage from an impromptu dance party. Silvers explains that it may be the founder that gets the credit, but it’s the first follower that creates the movement.

12. Jackson Katz: Violence & Silence

Here’s one for the gentlemen (but ladies, you listen up too). In this talk, Jackson Katz discusses why men need to step up and work to stop sexual and domestic violence. It all starts with speaking up. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across Katz’s Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) gender violence prevention program at your university.

13. Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story

In this eye-opening talk, novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells us the importance of understanding that a culture is made up of many overlapping stories. If we hear only one story, we cannot fully understand a culture. She discusses how some of her fellow students forgot this critical point, and how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

14. Freeman Hrabowski: 4 Pillars of College Success in Science

Freeman Hrabowski is the ultimate success story. In this inspirational talk, he traces his past back to the time he was jailed for marching with Martin Luther King. Today, he is president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he continues give minority students the opportunity to succeed.

15. Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership

Drew Dudley believes we can all show our leadership in everyday situations. His “lollipop moment” (you’ll have to listen to find out) takes place at a college orientation. See what you can do to improve someone’s life and be a leader in this quick and funny talk.

Image: YouTube, TEDtalksDirector


50 Higher Education Technology Infographics

A visual snapshot of education technology used by students, professors, universities and IT departments this year.

Infographics are often the best way to quickly digest a lot of information, especially in the technology world, where data abounds. In 2012, we collected 50 higher education technology infographics from around the web, all of which are displayed below. These infographics provide a snapshot of the advances in education technology we witnessed in 2012, which was definitely a blockbuster year.

As we prepare for the new year, we referenced the Washington Post’s article Eight thoughts on higher education in 2012, which was published just over a year ago:

The future holds unimagined opportunities. Innovation, especially in the form of new technology, tends to worry even the best-educated and most-skilled workers. In fact, innovation often creates short-term disruption, and that is likely to be true of the innovations coming to higher education. However, the long march of innovation has produced more knowledge workers, not fewer, and it has made their jobs intellectually richer and more financially productive. That will be true of tomorrow’s university professors. Clinging to tradition will worsen individual and institutional disruption, while embracing innovation will hasten a new era of higher education productivity—not only of well-educated degree holders, but of new knowledge.

Read more.

To learn more about the trends we witnessed this year, check out The Most Popular Higher Education Technology Posts of 2012.

Keep up with the latest tech trends in higher ed: Sign up for our e-newsletter
  1. Device ownership continues to grow, but how are college students using that technology?
  2. Technology creates the opportunity for a new learning environment.
  3. Successful research starts with smart searching.
  4. College students are among the leading adapters of technology.
  5. Social networking may not be the distraction parents think it is.
  6. Students can’t live without their devices, so schools should embrace the change.
  7. Statistics point to major changes for colleges.
  8. Technology is powering a better learning environment for college students.
  9. Social media proves to be a crucial asset during Hurricane Sandy.
  10. For better or for worse, technology is everywhere in higher education.
  11. Are points and badges a waste of time, or the key to unlocking hidden motivation in college students?
  12. Educators debate the effect of text messaging on the English language.
  13. When it comes to reaching audiences, colleges are turning away from traditional media and toward social media.
  14. Engineering and technology escape unemployment troubles.
  15. Affordable access to online learning creates new opportunities for cheating.
  16. How one startup is helping students connect with social media.
  17. Study indicates that students are showing the way.
  18. These colleges are using technology to solve problems on campus.
  19. Numerous challenges face IT departments trying to go mobile.
  20. Social media isn’t new anymore, but it’s as divisive as ever.
  21. “Out of the box” thinking isn’t limited to art classes.
  22. Study shows that few students use library books.
  23. Students are responding well to the influx of online courses.
  24. Despite privacy concerns, big schools are backing big data.
  25. Social media use is widespread, but success isn’t.
  26. Students are moving to the cloud whether the IT department likes it or not.
  27. Twitter rules on college campuses.
  28. Clean code, social media and YouTube views are increasingly important for colleges.
  29. Educational technology creates yet another controversy.
  30. For more than 30 years, Microsoft technology has changed the way we work, play and communicate.
  31. Why technology and accessibility will drive these careers into the future.
  32. By definition, big data is hard to handle, so should colleges bother?
  33. The benefits are obvious but the resources are scarce.
  34. College students aren’t getting a return on their very expensive investment.
  35. Which schools are running their business efficiently?
  36. Problems, not popularity, highlight of social media for college admissions offices.
  37. The rise of e-readers is expected to grow significantly in the next few years.
  38. E-books solve some problems but create others, leaving room for paper books to prosper.
  39. Demographic trends emerge as online education booms.
  40. For those who can afford college, the investment pays off.
  41. Satisfy your appetite for knowledge with these affordable online education options.
  42. The good, the bad and the future of college in America.
  43. Employment is harder than ever to come by, but there are still opportunities for students.
  44. For universities, the incentive to go green extends beyond sustainability.
  45. Until analytics tools catch up, big data benefits no one.
  46. 4 statistics to put the BYOD trend in perspective.

Learn Moodle Free: Moodle for Teacher-An Introduction


Moodle is a Course Management System (CMS), also known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is a Free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites. introduce their first MOOC

Moodle for teachers: An introduction is a 4 week introductory course with a recommended total of 8-12 hours participation time. Registration opens on 19th August 2013 and the course starts on 1st September 2013. There are no fees for taking the course and successful participants will be awarded a Mozilla Open Badges course completion badge that they can add to their Open Badges backpack.

From the course outline, it looks like it will be of most interest to teachers who have never used Moodle before, are curious about it, and only want to make a minimal commitment. Experienced Moodle teachers are also invited to participate as helpers and may be awarded a “helper badge.” I also suspect this is a experimental pilot project and that the intention is to provide a proof of concept for using Moodle for MOOCs and perhaps to investigate the possiblity of offering accredited Moodle training and professional development programmes in the MOOC course format. Moodle partners have already been offering Moodle Course Creator Certification courses (for between $200 and $800 AUD) since at least 2007 (Originally called the Moodle Teacher Certificate).

For more details and enrolment see:

BTW, Moodle was informally used by some learners in the original MOOC courses, ChangeMOOC: Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, started in 2008 at the University of Manitoba and run by Stephen Downes (National Research Council of Canada) and George Siemens (Athabasca University).