Many schools are now using Twitter as a quick way to share information about activities of their school or classes. Twitter is a quick blogging platform – micro-blogging – letting schools very quickly share short messages online to celebrate the activities of the school (including weblinks, images or video clips as appropriate) with the wider community. Twitter messages from a school (shared via either computer, tablet device or mobile) are pushed to the school’s Twitter followers, and the school’s Twitter feed (and that of classes or departments) can be embedded into the school’s website or blog. Thus the immediacy of being able to share information via Twitter (particularly via a mobile device) can be combined with the main school online presence, the website.
Many teachers are already using Twitter to connect with other teachers to share ideas – using Twitter to support developing a Professional Learning Network – click on this link for more information about his aspect of using Twitter. The post below is about creating and using a school or class Twitter account.
If schools are just starting out using Twitter it can be helpful to see how other schools have made use of Twitter, as well as how to go about getting started, and what guidelines to ensure best possible use. Schools which have already been using Twitter may also find the following helpful to glean ideas from the use of Twitter by other schools.
Liam Murphy and Dan Ainscow have together (as PrimaryIdeas) provided a series of helpful posts about the benefits of using Twitter for schools and classes, links to schools already using Twitter, and practical steps to putting it into practice in a school.
Twitter in Schools – a Getting Started Guide – by Steven Anderson – provides practical advice and guidance about questions to ask before setting up a school or class Twitter account: What do you want to communicate? Will there be just one person who will post or will you have multiple people who post? Will you follow anyone? If someone sends you an @ message, will you respond? What will you name the accounts? What information should you include in the profile? Guidance on issues to consider in answering these questions and more about the use of a school or class Twitter accounts can be found in this post.
Teaching with Twitter – Jerry Blumengarten at his Cybraryman site has collated a series of helpful links to resources about teaching with Twitter, making use of Twitter in the classroom, including a series of posts by many teachers sharing the many ways they use twitter. Med Kharbach has also put together a host of ideas for using Twitter in the classroom. Note that if thinking about using Twitter with learners (as opposed to using it to share activities of a school or class with parents and the wider community) teachers would need to take into account a variety of other considerations – this post is about the use of Twitter by schools or classes as a communication tool with parents and the wider community only. Martin Waller has provided guidance about the use of a class Twitter account with pupils in a primary class at his post “Using Twitter in the Primary Classroom.”
School Twitter Account – a post by Timothy Jefferson detailing the planning process he found useful in getting started with a school Twitter account, including being clear what is going to be done with the account, who is going to maintain it, how it will fit into communication strategies of the school, and how it will contribute to the aims of the school in engaging with the school and wider wider community.
Will you have class Twitter accounts as well as a school Twitter account?
So if, in addition to having a general school Twitter account, you are thinking about setting up accounts for each class you might consider having all class accounts starting with a school identifier. For example @ GPS_P1K, @GPS_P2L, @GPS_P3H, etc. This way individual classes could tweet about class-specific actvities. The main school account could follow each of the class accounts and retweet from the main school account any tweets from classes which were also suitable for the whole school audience – such as to celebrate achievements.
What might you do with a class Twitter account?
Simply reporting on the learning taking place in a classroom, with photographs of the activity when appropriate (following school guidance on using images with the pupils in them), has been found to be appreciated by parents and the pupils themselves. It provides a means of communication with parents and the wider community which focuses on the learning and pupil achievement going on every day in a classroom.
Sometimes it can be useful to have a specific activity or theme which uses Twitter as the medium to involve a wider real audience. This can engage pupils in their writing activity. Often it would be useful to devise project or theme-specific hashtages to group these projects together.
The #Grammar911 project is described by Victoria Olson. This literacy project encourages pupils to look at “modelled messy sentences” deliberately containing some errors with the object that the pupils then identify and correct these. The use of a hashtag such as this or #MathPhotoADay provides a way of providing a focus to a specific area of learning and also sharing that with a wider community of learners for collaboration and feedback. If you are creating your own hashtag for a learning project just try to make it unique enough that it won’t be readily used by others for unrelated activity.
50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom – a post by Samantha Miller listing and describing 50 different ways in which Twitter can be used with learners.
Social Planes – as a non-tech activity which gets learners thinking about social media, message sharing and the reach of commenting shared online, here is an activity which uses pre-printed paper aeroplane templates for learners to add comments and share in the room.
In addition the use of a GroupTweet account (http://www.grouptweet.com/) can provide a way to have different members of staff able to send messages from the school account without the need to share a single username and password (avoiding difficulties when anyone needs to change a password and inadvertently forgets to alert other users). This also allows for a way to share the opportunities for a group of staff to send messages and avoid it becoming a responsibility for everything to be funneled through one member of staff. Contributors can GroupTweet in two ways: They can login to your group’s private dashboard (but using different login details) which is useful for those without their own personal Twitter accounts. Additionally, contributors with personal Twitter accounts can GroupTweet from any Twitter client and device – they simply include an agreed hashtag in their Tweet or send an @mention or DM to the GroupTweet account. GroupTweet provides for administrators of a GroupTweet account to moderate content, to have the option to approve content from multiple contributors so that messages can have a consistent style. Also GroupTweet has the option to schedule messages, so they can be prepared in advance but publishing to be delayed to only appear at an appropriate time.
Public or Private?
Twitter is essentially a mini-blog. Therefore if your classes had been blogging about class activities it would be perfectly normal to have the blog being public. It’s an extension of the website. If the blog/Twitter is made private then you risk excluding parents/cares/wider family members from seeing the information you wish to share – not all will want to have a Twitter account. Having it public means you can embed the content on the school website – being private makes that impossible. Therefore if the learning activities going on in the classroom were worth sharing in the first place it makes sense to share for all of the school community to be able to see, and their families.
Having a public Twitter account means that there is no duplication of effort in sharing information required – only updating that rather than also a website page for the class. Often a class account may wish to be used to engage with, for example an Olympic athlete, or an author, or a national organisation for a specific topic. That person/organisation will find it difficult to engage when an account is private. Having it private may seem to be a safe option but it adds to the teacher workload (both in managing who’s going to get access and in also having to find other ways to share the same information with parents/carers/wider family who don’t wish to have a Twitter account) and gives the class account a very restricted audience. Sharing images even in a private account does not make them safer – any one of your followers could copy and share. So if parents/carers were led to believe by a school that a private site would mean information could not be shared then that means the onus of a school having given that assurance would be to defend what could not be assured. If something should not have been shared it should not be shared either in a private or a public site of any kind. So if the presumption is that the account is public then everyone is clear of the purpose – to share and celebrate learning.
So do you protect or make public? Twitter provides the option to protect an account so that only those who have been approved as followers will be able to see the tweets. Dughall McCormick has provided a helpful post setting out the arguments for keeping the account public.
Dealing with Negative Comments
Dealing with Negative Comments on Social Media – a post providing helpful hints as to what to consider in case a school or class Twitter account receives negative comments. Ellie Mirman has also put together “30 Pieces of Advice” about the use of social media, including Twitter, which also refers to how to deal with the possibility of negative feedback (amongst several other pointers – and, while this post is not specifically aimed at use in education, many points are relvant or can be adapted to the school sector).
5 ways to use Twitter without having a Twitter account – a post by Chris Hardie which has helpful advice about using the power of twitter without the account itself, for instance setting up alerts for a school to be sent an email whenever the school is mentioned by anyone on Twitter.
Bring A School To Twitter
Bring A School To Twitter – Bring A School To Twitter provides a means via Twitter itself to share ideas and practice from a host of schools, classrooms or school departments which use Twitter. When you have a school, class or school department Twitter account simply follow @BASTTUK to have them further share with other schools what your school does.
Twitter is very straighforward to use. Many users will find that the tools built into Twitter will serve them well without need for additional features. However there is a host of further free tools available to enhance your use of Twitter for specific purposes, should you so wish to explore them. 100 of the best Twitter Tools for Teachers by Category is a post containing a host of additional tools – one of which might just be exactly what you have been seeking.
Examples of Schools Using Twitter
There are a number of schools already using Twitter successfully to engage with parents and other interested members of their school and wider community to share news, information and activities taking place in or out of the classroom. Sometimes the best way of seeing how you might use Twitter with your school is to have a look at how it is used by another school already. And of course even if you are already using Twitter with your school or class then having at a look at how others are also using it may provide alternative ideas for you to consider using or adapting.
Here are some just to give some examples of different ways of using Twitter by schools or classes (both within Falkirk Council and outwith Falkirk Council):
Nursery Schools (within Falkirk Council)
@airthnursery – Airth Primary School Nursery in Falkirk Council
@AntoninePS_Nurs – Antonine Primary School Nursery in Falkirk Council
@bowhousenursery – Bowhouse Primary School Nursery class in Falkirk Council
@carmuirsnursery – Carmuirs Nursery in Falkirk Council
@dennynursery – Denny Nursery in Falkirk Council
@HeathriggNur Heathrigg Nursery in Slamannan in Falkirk Council
@Inchlair – Inchlair Nursery in Stenhousemuir in Falkirk Council.
@LarbertDay – Larbert Day Nursery in Falkirk Council
@NPSWeans Nethermains Primary School Nursery Class in Falkirk Council
@QueenStreetNS – Queen Street Nursery in Falkirk Council.
@StBernNursery – St Bernadette’s Nursery class in Falkirk Council
@Sten_nursery – Stenhousemuir Primary School Nursery in Falkirk Council
@VictoriaNurClas – Victoria Primary school Nursery class in Falkirk Council
@WNursery – Westquarter Primary School Nursery in Falkirk Council
Primary Schools (within Falkirk Council)
@Antonine01 – Antonine Primary School in Falkirk Council. Each class also has a class twitter account. The main school account follows each class Twitter account and retweets messages appropriate to the whole school. @AntoninePS_Nurs, @AntoninePS_P1D, @AntoninePS_P2, @AntoninePS_P32, @AntoninePS_P4, @AntoninePS_P5, @AntoninePS_P7
@AvonbridgePS – Avonbridge Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@BainsfordPS – Bainsford Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@BankierPrimary – Bankier Primary School, Falkirk Council.
@BantaskinPS – Bantaskin Primary School in Falkirk Council
@BeancrossPS – Beancross Primary School, Grangemouth in Falkirk Council.
@BonessPublic – Bo’ness Public School in Falkirk Council.
@BonnybridgePS – Bonnybridge Primary school in Falkirk Council.
@BothkennarPS – Bothkennar Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@BowhousePS – Bowhouse Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@CaliforniaPrim – California Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@CarmuirsPrimary – Carmuirs Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@CarronPrimary – Carron Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@ComelyParkPS – Comely Park Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@DeanburnPS – Deanburn Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@DennyPrimSch – Denny Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@DunipacePS – Dunipace Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@EasterCarmuirs – Easter Carmuirs Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@GrangePrimSch – Grange Primary School, Bo’ness, in Falkirk Council.
@HallglenPrimary – Hallglen Primary School in Falkirk Council
@HeadofMuirPS – Head of Muir Primary school in Falkirk Council.
@KinnairdPS – Kinnaird Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@Kinneil_PS – Kinneil Primary School, Bo’ness, in Falkirk Council.
@LadesidePrimary – Ladeside Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@LangleesPS – Langlees Primary School, Bainsford in Falkirk Council.
@LarbertVillage – Larbert Village Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@LauriestonPS – Laurieston Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@LimeriggPrimary – Limerigg Primary School in Falkirk Council. Each class also has a class twitter account. The main school account follows each class Twitter account and retweets messages appropriate to the whole school. The class Twitter feeds are embedded on the respective class pages on the school website. @ @
@MaddistonPS – Maddiston Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@MorayPS – Moray Primary School, Grangemouth in Falkirk Council.
@NethermainsPS – Nethermains Primary School, Denny in Falkirk Council.
@OxgangSchool – Oxgang School and Support Services in Falkirk Council.
@SacredHeartPrim – Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Grangemouth, in Falkirk Council.
@ShieldhillPS – Shieldhill Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@StBernadettesPS – St Bernadette’s RC Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@Francis_Xaviers – St Francis Xavier’s RC Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@StJosephsPS – St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@StMargaretsPS – St Margaret’s Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@StMarysBoness – St Mary’s RC Primary School, Bo’ness in Falkirk Council.
@StPatricks_PS – St Patrick’s RC Primary School in Denny in Falkirk Council.
@SlamannanPS – Slamannan Primary School in Falkirk Council. Each class also has a class twitter account. The main school account follows each class Twitter account and retweets messages appropriate to the whole school. The class Twitter feeds are embedded on the respective class pages on the school website. @ @ @ @ @ @ @
@VictoriaPS123 – Victoria Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@WestquarterPrim – Westquarter Public School in Falkirk Council.
@WhitecrossPS – Whitecross Primary School in Falkirk Council.
@WindsorParkFalk – Windsor Park School in Falkirk Council.
Primary Schools (outwith Falkirk Council)
@Aileymill – Aileymill Primary school in Greenock, Inverclyde Council.
@AnsonPrimary – Anson Primary School, London
@BurnbraePS – Burnbrae Primary School, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian.
@CardrossPrimary – Cardross Primary school in Dunbartonshire.
@Casllwchwr1 Casllwchwr Primary School, Swansea. In addition to having a link to the school website on the Twitter profile the school also adds their suggested advice “Casllwchwr advises you only to look at our Twitter account and avoid clicking on other followers.”
@CornbankPS – Cornbank Primary School, Penicuik, Midlothain.
@Cuiken_Primary – Cuiken Primary School, Midlothian (includes Twitter feed on school website).
@CGPrimary – Cwmglas Primary school, Swansea.
@DensRoadPS – Dens Road Primary School in Dundee.
@FallinPrimary – Fallin Primary school in Stirling Council. Twitter feed also embedded on school website/blog https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/st/FallinPrimary/
@GourochPr – Gourock Primary school in Inverclyde Council.
@HawthorndenPrim – Hawthornden Primary School in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian.
@InveraraySchool – Inveraray Primary school in Argyll and Bute Council.
@KeillsPS – Keills Primary school on the Isle of Islay.
@learn_2gether – Kingsley CP Primary School in Frodsham, Cheshire.
@KirktonPS – Kirkton of Largo Primary School, Fife. The Twitter feed also appears on the school website.
@LasswadePS – Lasswade Primary School, Midlothian.
@LawPS – Law Primary School in North Berwick, East Lothian. Twitter feed also embedded on school website.
@MeresidePrimary – Mereside Primary School, Blackpool, Lancashire. Twitter feed also embedded on school website.
@ParkfieldPS – Parkfield Primary School, Middleton, Manchester.
@PortEllenPS – Port Ellen Primary school on the Isle of Islay.
@Rosewell_PS – Rosewell Primary School, Midlothian. Twitter feed also embedded on school website.
@RothesayPrimary – Rothesay Primary school on Isle of Bute.
@SaintAndrewsPS – Saint Andrews Primary school in Greenock, Inverclyde Council.
@StDavidsPrimary – St David’s Primary School, Dalkeith, Midlothian. Twitter feed also embedded on school website.
@UphallPS – Uphall Primary School, Uphall, Bathgate, West Lothian Council.
@WoottonPrimary – Wootton Primary School, Northampton. There are also several class Twitter accounts.
Secondary Schools (within Falkirk Council)
@Boness_Academy – Bo’ness Academy in Falkirk Council.
@BraesHigh – Braes High school in Falkirk Council
@DennyHighSchool – Denny High School in Falkirk Council.
@FalkirkHigh – Falkirk High School in Falkirk Council.
@GHSFalkirk – Graeme High School in Falkirk Council. As well as the main school account there are Twitter accounts for subject departments (@GHSArtandDesign, @ComputingS3, @GHS_English, Social Subjects) and groups such as the Guardian Angels enterprise group
@GrangemouthHS – Grangemouth High School in Falkirk Council. Twitter feed also embedded on school website.
@LarbertHigh – the main school account for Larbert High School in Falkirk Council, with different Twitter accounts for faculties or subject departments such as Modern Languages, Technologies, English, Health and Wellbeing and Biology, as well as the school library, and for groups or activities within the school such as the Cycling Club
@MarinerSupport – Mariner Support Service for Falkirk Council
@StMungosFalkirk – the main school account for St Mungo’s RC High School, Falkirk, with different Twitter accounts for subject departments such as Business Education and for groups or activities within the school such as the football team, School Radio Station or Eco Group.
Secondary Schools (outwith Falkirk Council)
@AlvaAcademy – Alva Academy in Clackmannanshire.
@BalfronHigh – Balfron High School in Stirling Council.
@DunblaneHS – Dunblane High School in Stirling Council.
@HermitageAcad – Hermitage Academy in Helensburgh.
@Lornshill – Lornshill Academy in Clackmannanshire.
Preston Lodge High School in East Lothian has a main school twitter account as well as subject and group activity accounts. The feeds for all of these can be found at the foot of the school’s web presence at http://edubuzz.org/prestonlodge/
@StDavidsHS – St David’s High School, Dalkeith, Midlothian.
@Stirling_High – Stirling High School.
@WallaceHighSch – Wallace High School in Stirling Council.
@WilliamwoodHS – Williamwood High School in East Renfrewshire.
Community Learning (within Falkirk Council)
@FalkirkWestCLD – Falkirk Council’s Community Learning and Development Falkirk West team
Scottish Schools on Twitter
Scottish Schools on Twitter – mapped by William Jenkins (@EdTech_Stories) – you can filter by type of school, and each school entry includes a link to their Twitter account and website. Click here for a list of subject (for secondary schools) or class (for primary schools) Twitter accounts, detailing number of Tweets, followers and more in Scottish schools.