Tag-Archive for ◊ twitter ◊

Inspirational Pictures
Monday, August 05th, 2013 | Author:

I have talked about using lists before to help manage people on Twitter but this post is about a new list I have created.

There are many picture-based accounts on Twitter including @fascinatingpics and my most recent find, @abandonedpic which shows pictures of places that have been abandoned. This includes some very atmospheric shots of castles, theme parks or houses that have been left for years and nature has taken them over. Are they real? Not sure. Here is one example:


Where is it? Who lives here? Who lived here? What’s outside?


The more I see these pictures, the more I thought that they could be useful in the classroom. Maybe just as a prompt for descriptive writing, but maybe for more? So I have added a few picture accounts to a Twitter list. If I have missed any, please feel free to let me know and I’ll add them.

I must say that I don’t know if the list is always 100% suitable for children, so I wouldn’t get my class to follow them, but they would be useful for teachers to pick and choose suitable photos.

The list is here: https://twitter.com/ianaddison/inspiring-pictures

Edit – Another list by @ICT_mrp can be found on this blog post

Twitter Lists
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 | Author:

I have been using Twitter for ages now (a good few years) and I have never got around to sorting out my lists until recently because of time. I would imagine that many others are in a similar boat, only because when I tweeted about lists, a few others asked for more clarification, so here it is.

Lists are a feature where you can group certain users together. I could have lots of lists but I tend to just have a few. I have one for people in Hampshire so that I can see what local teachers are tweeting about and I have another for people I talk to or follow regularly. These are the tweets that I now look at in more detail. Before I found that I was spending ages looking at Twitter but it didn’t feel productive. Now my time has been reduced but I feel that I am getting a bit more out of it. I know that there is the chance I’ll miss something from someone, but as @dughall says, it’ll get retweeted if it’s useful. I do scroll through the main timeline now and again, but not as regularly as I used to.

I would definitely recommend spending a few hours going through the people you follow and organising them into lists. I found the best way to set this up was through the Twitter.com website. I simply scrolled through the people I was following and I added some to lists. It only loads 10-20 at a time so there is a lot of scrolling, but you’ll get there in the end.

It may seem like a big time spend at the start, but it will make you feel much better afterwards.

Category: blogposts, Social Media, Twitter  | Tags: ,  | 3 Comments
Class 8 will be tweeting
Sunday, September 02nd, 2012 | Author:

Following on from Simon McCloughlin’s (@simcloughlin) plea on his blog, I have decided to do the same on here. As of this week I will be back in the classroom with my own class following two years covering PPA across the school. One of the (many) things that I will be trying is the use of Twitter. I have blogged here and here about using Twitter for various lessons but this will be different. This will be with my own class and we might tweet about lessons we have coming up, things we’ve been doing or we might ask questions. The children will have a huge say in what gets sent out too of course.

So why not follow my class account? We will be tweeting as @stjohnsclass8

Twitter Literacy (Twitteracy?)
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 | Author:

Today I tried another Twitter lesson (here was another attempt). As PPA teacher I often don’t find out what I’m doing until the day before and this was no exception. As part of the literacy in Year 3-4 they were looking at writing newspaper reports based on traditional tales and nursery rhymes. For today’s lesson we were due to hotseat as a character and write questions for them. I thought that the children would enjoy this, but I also knew that people on Twitter would too. Normally when I tweet a response for a Twitter lesson I get maybe 10-20 replies, but this one went, well, just a little bit crazy.

The basic question was: “If you could ask a question for a traditional tale character, what would you ask?”

I asked people to include #class6interview in their reply and they came thick and fast. I spent around an hour laughing (out loud – lol) at some of them that were incredibly funny.

Now, the plan was to use visible tweets to show the tweets on the board as the lesson was going on so that the children had ideas to draw from. I have done this a number of times and had never had any problems. I don’t usually check the tweets completely beforehand but this time I’m glad that I did. One tweet mentioned the old lady in the shoe and her lack of contraception, others were also not appropriate. Now some people might not have realised that this was aimed at 7-9 year olds and were just joining in the fun but it meant that I was limited to what I could share with the class. Unfortunately I didn’t notice this until around 8:30 this morning. I planned to copy and paste some of the tweets to share with the children instead but Kevin McLaughlin (@kvnmcl) Storify-ed them for me here so that I had some to use. @e_gran also offered to collate the best ones too, so thank you too.

I tweeted that I was upset that my plan was ‘ruined’ and many people offered suggestions for tools that I could use and agreed with my anger that people had spoilt it. Others apologised if they were to blame (@bellaale it wasn’t you! – political satire might not be appropriate for 7 yr olds but they wouldn’t have noticed)

So…the lesson. I started by explaining the task and then showed some of the tweets. We spent about 10 minutes going through the tweets and laughing at them. I also spent a bit of time hotseating as the wolf and explaining why I had tried to eat Red Riding Hood. The children were inspired and went away buzzing with ideas. Throughout the lesson they wrote questions for the characters and if I spotted a great one, we tweeted it. 10minutes from the end we came back and they had a go at interviewing each other and sharing answers. As a final exercise I chose a child to be a character and we spent some time asking her questions too. All-in-all it was a fantastic lesson and the children had a lot of fun asking and answering questions.

The best ones can be found through our @stjohnswaltham account. For the full list of Tweets from everyone, try looking here.

So, will I use Twitter again even though some of the tweets weren’t appropriate? Of course I will. I just need to be careful and have a quick look through before displaying them.

Have you used Twitter in your class? How did it go? Could you use it in a future lesson? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

A lesson on Twitter
Thursday, September 08th, 2011 | Author:

One thing that sometimes happens as PPA teacher is that I have to teach the same lesson twice to two different classes. This isn’t a bad thing as it means I can try different things and achieve different outcomes because the children are different. For today’s lesson I thought I’d use Twitter to make it a bit more exciting…but it turned out to make it random and a lot of fun too!

The lesson was part of the ancient Greek topic and being the first lesson, we needed to look at Modern-day Greece. What is it like? Where is it? What key information can we find out about it?

After the initial ‘Who has been to Greece?’ conversations, we found it on a Google map and began exploring. Now, the usual stuff can all be found on Wikipedia e.g. currency, time zone, capital, flag and so on but I wanted to challenge the children further. So I asked the lovely/bonkers people on Twitter.

My question was simple. What would you like my class to find out about Greece? I asked people to include the #greecequest hashtag meaning that I could show www.visibletweets.com on the whiteboard and they could see answers that came in. We didn’t get hundreds, but we did get some great ones!

(Potentially this could pose a risk as I don’t check the tweets before they appear on te whiteboard, but I am happy to manage this risk)

Questions included:

  • Who is number 1 in the Greek charts?
  • Why is the flag blue and white?
  • Where has all the money gone?
  • Can you buy a Subway sandwich?
  • How far is it from Marathon to Athens?
  • Have they ever done well in Eurovision?
  • Who won the Greek football league last year?

So, as you can see it was a bit random. It led to some amazing questions from the children. When looking at which football team won last year, we noticed the Greek league didn’t play from 1940-1945 so we discussed why. We also wondered where the Greek people were going as there were a million less of them in 2011 compared to 2009. We found out that the stripes on their flag are there to represent each syllable in the Greek motto! We also found out that their current debt works out at around 300,000 euros for every man, woman and child! Where possible we sent the answers back to the people who had asked them too.

The children were enthused and eager to find out the answers for the people of Twitter. As the questions popped up, they asked who the people were. I could only reply “he’s a deputy headteacher, he works for 2simple, not sure about that one”, but they didn’t mind. It gave them excitement and a purpose to their research.

One drawback was that the lesson ended at 10am and we had to move on to other things but tweets kept coming in! So I used these in the afternoon with the other class.

It seemed to work very well and I look forward to seeing the factfile that the children build up about Greece. I also want to say a massive thank-you to everyone who helped!


Category: blogposts, ICT Planning  | Tags: ,  | 4 Comments
Northern Grid Conference #ngconf
Friday, June 24th, 2011 | Author:

Today I am in Newcastle presenting at the Northern Grid Conference. I am still shocked and in disbelief that I have been invited to attend let alone share a workshop with award-winning teacher Jan Webb. Anyways, it was tough knowing what to share so I decided to share 15 ideas in 15 minutes. Now I know that is a lot but I wanted to give a brief overview of some tools that people could use for free. Then they could look at this blog post here and review the presentation and look at the 3x3links of the tools, how-to videos, blog posts and examples. Hopefully everyone will find at least one tool that they can use with their children.



The ‘whatever’ daily is out now zzzz
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 | Author:

One thing I hate about Twitter is a service where people’s tweets are collated together and put on to a daily newspaper called the ‘tech daily’ or whatever. Sometimes I get alerted to these as my tweets or blog posts appear in them. Does anyone read them?

I certainly don’t and see it almost as spam and I don’t think I’m alone. Someone tweeted once ‘Whenever a daily edition is published, a fairy dies, stop it now’ and that is my reaction too. Until now.

I still hate the daily newspapers but I have found a use for them. I have set up www.paper.li to publish a weekly roundup of blogs from my school.

So how did I do it? First, you need a Twitter account. You also need a blog (or 15ish in our case), all of the blog posts feed automatically through the Twitter account using Twitterfeed. Then I went to www.paper.li and asked it to create a weekly newspaper collating all of the blogposts/tweets from our school account, @stjohnswaltham.

This now sends me a newspaper each Sunday and the first thing I do? Send it to all of our children in Key Stage 2.

Do you want to have a look? Visit: http://paper.li/StJohnsWaltham

I’d love it if you could subscribe or click on a post and leave some comments. I’m not sure how you categorise the posts e.g. technology or leisure, but it looks great and the children will now get blog posts each week direct to their inbox.

Category: blogposts, General Thoughts  | Tags: ,  | One Comment
Write once – post many
Sunday, September 05th, 2010 | Author:

Ok, so you’ve got a Twitter account. You’ve got Facebook. Your class have a blog. Your school has a website. Oh and don’t forget the VLE as well. That’s potentially a lot of places to be writing information. But let’s not forget the traditional format of the paper newsletter to parents and the other ways such as texting parents. Which website or format do you point them to? All of them? I know I’d get confused with that! What you need to think about is a way of writing once and getting that to feed to other sources to reduce your workload and make it all a bit more familiar for visitors.

(Just read this paragraph back and it sounds like a bad American TV ad. I think it’s because we had American TV on holiday and I watched too much of it on a rainy day. Are you fed up with small cupcakes? Do your muffins never come out correctly? You need Bigtop Cupcake!) Anyway, I digress…

There are so many different ways of getting these formats and sites to crossover and talk to each other, but I’ll just talk about some of them and the ways I will be doing it at my new school.

We will be blogging with our school and with this there are two main choices. Well, there’s the choice of which system to use (mainly Posterous, Blogger or WordPress) but then the choice is between quick, easy and free (wordpress.com) or a self-hosted blog which costs about £10 a year for hosting but gives you more control. I went for the latter. We have set-up a site that will contain each class blog. The teachers will have logins and then they can blog and it will appear here. But I want it to go further. I could use a plugin on the blogs to tweet automatically, but purely for the reason I;ve been using it a while, I’ve gone for Twitterfeed. It’s quick, easy and free.

To use Twitterfeed, you will need a Google account (it accepts others too, but you’ve probably already got a Google one) Once logged in you simply click new feed, give it a name and paste in the RSS feed. What’s an RSS feed? Well it’s the system that sends out updates from sites such as blogs, news sites or sport sites. The kind of site that updates regularly anyway. You then use an RSS reader such as Google Reader, Feedly, or your VLE to read them and turn this into text/links. If you can’t find your blog’s RSS feed, in the address bar at the top of your blog, there will be an RSS icon like this one (unless you’re using an old browser like Internet Explorer 6. Shame on you if you are) or the star will be yellow in Firefox.

Click that and you should be asked to subscribe, you’ll also see a link for the RSS. The RSS for this blog is http://ianaddison.net/?feed=rss2 Unhelpfully, not all RSS feeds follow the same format. I showed teachers how to use RSS feeds when training on the VLE and every one seems different, some end .xml, some have rss in the address and so on. Trial and error sometimes comes into play. Luckily, Twitterfeed has a check facility so you can see if you’ve found the right bit!

Under the advanced Twitterfeed settings I changed my time to every 30minutes and for it to just post the title rather than title and description. I only did this because it made the tweet a bit shorter and a bit easier to retweet should anyone want to. You can also choose a prefix and suffix. I went with a prefix of ‘New blog post:’ Not very exciting, but sometimes you need simple and obvious!

On page two, you can then choose a twitter account to tweet with e.g. my school blogs will tweet through the school account and my personal blog will go through my own twitter account. You can set it up to post as your status on Facebook too. I did for about 4 blog posts but then turned it off as most of my friends thought I was a geek/loser (delete as applicable) So that’s blogs and Twitter linked…

Our VLE, Studywiz has a built-in RSS reader too so when we have our VLE set-up properly, the blog posts will also feed into this.

Our website is setup using a system called Joomla. This is a content management system which means that you don’t need to know much about websites and the code behind them to get it to work. I can also include little plugins to show things like maps, video or in this case, tweets. On the left-hand side, it will show the 6 latest tweets from my school Twitter account – @stjohnswaltham – The tweets will mainly be about our latest blog posts, but I will be investigating setting up our Google Calendar to tweet key events too. At the bottom of our twitter plugin is a link to follow us too.

As one last thing I have also put the links to our blogs on our school website on their own tab so people can find them that way.

So what will I be telling visitors and parents? Go to our website. From there you can see our website (obviously) our tweets and our blogs. We might also share our Twitter name but I’m not currently planning to share the blog addresses with everyone, I’d rather they found them through our website.

It does take a bit of time (maybe 2mins per twitterfeed) to set this all up, but once it’s done you’re away. Please do have a look at what we’ve started to do on our school site: http://stjohnthebaptistprimary.co.uk/ but bear in mind term hasn;t started yet so the blogs are empty!