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Posts tagged ‘twitter template’

Tip of the Week – My Fake Facebook, Twitter and Text

Several months ago I wrote a post discussing the idea of using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter as a way to help kids create history-related stuff. I followed that up with a Tip of the Week that included a Facebook template that teachers and kids can use to make the process a bit easier.

And now? I was browsing Larry Ferlazzo’s sweet site and ran across his post listing some new tools to simplify the process. Larry listed several sites (including one mentioned by Richard Bryne) that do most of the template creation work for you and your students, making it easier to focus on historical content rather than the process.

I really like the ease of use  of My Fake Wall. (Updated 6/2/2013, My Fake Wall is no longer appropriate for student use.) students create a Facebook look-a-like fairly easily. Create an account, upload photos, insert some text and you’re done. This is what the editing screen looks like:

A couple of issues to think about.

The finished product is a link to a web site displaying your work that’s hosted by My Fake Wall. And while the finished wall looks very Facebookish, it also comes with a ton of ads. I haven’t seen any inappropriate stuff yet but I just don’t like that many ads lying around when I’m working with kids.

The other issue is that the ease of use may actually distract from the historical thinking that you want from your kids. It’s the same with a lot of tools – all of the PowerPoint bells and whistles, for example, can distract from the message. So . . . help kids focus on historical content, not the process.

I used my Mac’s ability to take very specific screenshots of my finished wall that eliminates the ads. The first image below is the before:

This is the after:

Larry mentioned two other sites that let your student “recreate” history. One helps create fake Twitter messages and the other makes fake text messages. We’ve talked about using Twitter before, these new tools can help.

I like these as well – as long as the focus remains on the historical thinking rather than on simply creating a fun activity. All three of these tools are really just new forms of graphic organizers. 21st century strategies that can help students organize their thinking so that the content makes sense. You can use these before, during and after learning.

Have fun!


Update 1/4/2011 – I just found a very cool PowerPoint template that does a great job of mimicking the Facebook environment. You can download the template here and get some specific instructions / rubric here.

(Thanks Larry and Richard!)

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Tip of the Week – Twitter template and Tweet summaries

I haven’t decided quite yet whether this is sacrilegious or not. But a guy named Chris Juby has decided to use Twitter to summarize the entire Bible, one chapter at a time.

We’ve talked in the past about using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter as instructional tools. But it’s always been a way to simulate or recreate the actions of thinking of historical people and this Bible thing has got me thinking a bit.

When asked about the project, Chris said

It’s a really tough process deciding what the key themes of each chapter are and what can be left out.

Many kids have trouble with summarizing, trying to do exactly what Chris is doing with Twitter – trying to figure out what is really important.

What if you used the Twitter concept to help kids summarize text? It’s a idea that they understand, with many of them already using the tool or texting via cell phones.

And while Twitter is probably blocked in most of your schools, it’s not tough to create some sort of usable blank template based on the Twitter page. In an earlier post, I posted directions on how to create a Facebook template. Follow those instructions to make one yourself or you can simply download a PDF version of a blank Twitter template that I quickly put together.

Have kids read the text, watch the video or listen to the lecture. Have them stop at appropriate times in the text or during the video and, using the template, ask them to create a “tweet” of the most important themes or ideas presented in that section of content. (But have them leave the big empty space at the top blank for now.)

Students can “publish” their tweets by having a partner read what they wrote. Encourage conversation and comparison between partners about what each wrote. Repeat the process until the content has been completed delivered.

I would then have partners exchange their Twitter “pages” one last time. Students should create a question for each of the tweets created by their partner. This will provide a quick way for students to review the information – having both a simple summary and a question that can help trigger additional information.

An example might be a tweet that I created stating

Gettysburg is big 3-day battle in PA, July 1863. 20th Maine holds, Pickett’s Charge fails, north survives Confederate invasion

My partner would create a question in the margin along the lines of

Why was the Battle of Gettysburg so important?

The final step would for each student to go to the top of their Twitter template (the space that they left blank earlier) and create a tweet that summarizes all of their previous tweets. All of these activities will help students create, store and recall tons of information.

And while we know this is just another form of a graphic organizer, your students will see just the Twitter connection and dive right in.

Have fun!

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