Friday, June 1, 2012

Twitter in the Science Room

While doing an iPad training in a local school district, we started talking about different directions my classroom learning took this year. It was great to talk out loud and reflect on the really cool aspects that technology introduced to our learning. One topic that was of particular interest to the teachers was our use of a class twitter account... @lacrossescience

After explaining to the teachers that I have a professional twitter account (@llacrosse) and that this account was for our classroom learning, I fielded many questions about using twitter during the school day. I thought I'd share parts of our conversation here as I outline my use of...

Twitter in the Science Room-

Our start with twitter began with students viewing our twitter feed on the big screen. We were following several scientists, including some astronauts and a GREAT scientist in Colorado, Dr. Phil Plait, whom we later skyped with. Students began giving me tweets to send out about what we were learning. We all worked to develop the content of the tweet. It was very teacher-led, and we didn't do this too often because we were very busy with our class mystery skypes!

After modeling this for awhile, I felt comfortable enough to allow students to create tweets about what we were learning in our science labs. Students actually did a pre-write of the tweet on a notecard, and we had fun checking for content, character amount, and thinking of hashtags. Then, they sent them out and read our other science class tweets. So, it became a great way to get them to make science observations and share!

We then began to use twitter to share our projects. The students shared videos made with the ShowMe app. It was great to ask student to share, then pull up our twitter feed on the big screen, and have everyone watch and learn from each other. (Talk about stream lining the work flow!) I was able to open each up, grab my rubrics, and grade while we shared!

Students expanded to sharing lab results through twitter.

We also used twitter to chat with our science friends! Mr. Larizza gave us some mystery fruit pictures to try to ID his location in the world (as he travels a ton, and we try to connect via Skype).

I also used twitter for my "Science in the Pictures" photos. Very easy to send a picture to our twitter stream and discuss in class all the science we could see. This replaced the 20 smart board slides that I previously made and transferred via a flash drive. This makes MY workflow a lot easier!

Towards the end of the year, my students were ready to use twitter to backchannel during our science Skype with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I had 4 students that had twitter running and shared some of the information they were learning during the Skype. (I will be blogging about this MOST AMAZING Skype at a later date!)

Lastly, as students compiled their electronic portfolios, many of them were able to refer back to the twitter feed for copies of their projects. They were able to open them up and add to their google site easily!

These are just a few ways we used twitter this year. Looking back, I'm pleased with the progression. My students ultimately viewed twitter as a learning and sharing tool, which ultimately, it is. As I shared these activities in my training, I did see some apprehension from the teachers. Now, mapping out our use, I can show the scaffolded progression and I'm excited to bring twitter into the science room again next year.

If you have other ideas for using twitter, please share! I'm excited to add on next year. 


  1. Leah, I am totally impressed with you and your students. I was able to witness first-hand the enthusiasm for learning in your classroom.

    Recently, I was speaking to a group of educators about using Twitter in the classroom and gave them some suggestions, but was lacking real world, detailed experiences. This is just perfect for other teachers to see how successful and purposeful twitter can be in our classes.

    Thank you for taking the time to outline the process for us. I look forward to connecting with your class next year via Twitter and Skype!

    1. Thank you, Nancy. This was a really exciting year. And, I'm so glad that we were able to connect. I think both groups of students bring so much to share. I can't wait for next year! :)

  2. Leah,

    I, too, am totally impressed with your use of Twitter in the classroom. To be able to connect with real life scientists during your school day is amazing.

    I am also "wow"ed by the fact that you were able to convey your wonderful project via a blog. Not only are you an inspiring teacher for your kids, but by sharing your experience with other educators, you have inspired us as well.

    Thank you for taking the time to write up your blog. Best of luck next year as you continue your quest to use technology in your 21st century classroom.


    1. Lisa,
      Thank you for your response. I appreciate the kindness and well wishes. I am excited to see what next year brings! :)

  3. Thank you for sharing this Leah! I am hoping to use Twitter in my classroom next year and you have inspired me! I love the idea of communicating with real life scientists. Since joining Twitter, I have found it to be such an amazing tool for sharing and learning. I look forward to brainstorming various ways to use Twitter with my students! Thanks again!
    Lisa Rizzo

    1. Lisa, I do think we have a wonderful forum for connecting students with twitter. Giving our students an audience may be a key motivator to learning. :)
      Thank you for sharing!