As I began to research this subject I came across not only a variety of safe strategies to develop with my students but a variety of social networking ideas for thinking and communicating in the classroom and beyond.
Although social networking seems to be common place with students, even the primary ones. It is important that as educators we continue to stress the importance of "digital citizenship". Understanding what goes out there...stays out there. Although there can be a feeling of safety and privacy with classroom Twitter accounts, sites such as Edmondo and classroom blogs, students need to be cognisant of the digital footprints that they leave.
Several students in this course had posted images of Twitter Boards/Facebook boards in the classroom. I think this is a great idea for students to practise the idea of publicly sharing ideas and comments and allows for authentic writing opportunities. Last year I saw a Twitter Board in a Grade 3 classroom. I was so impressed with the level of participation of the students. The teacher told me it was important to him to put it up in the classroom prior as a teaching tool for students who had never experienced Twitter before.
While reading the article 10 Teachers to follow on Twitter, I decided to follow an educator @Angela Maiers. Through her tweets I found a very interesting Twitter group @readbyexample where the idea of Global Read Alouds (www.globalreadaloud.com) was explained. What a great concept of globally connecting K-8 classrooms during weekly read alouds of selected books. Students would then tweet their comments (Twitter's 140 character limit provides a great opportunity to teach the art of summarising). Classrooms can sign up to connect with their grades and text as well they can set up their own "lists" of books.
As I am always thinking about assessment, I was intrigued by the use of the Web tool "Storify" that can collect and organise student (thinking) tweets over time to check for understanding or to reflect with your students about their learning, or to even post on a school website or classroom blog.
This article went even further to talk about connecting this global read aloud activity to posts on a classroom Edmondo page and even using Google Docs to create a KWL chart which could also be posted in Edmondo and finally a really cool virtual paper board "Wallwisher" where students could post responses to questions or a topic (in effect taking the place of sticky notes).