The role of education is to light a fire, and too often we as educator find ourselves 'filling a bucket'. We chose our subjects because we are passionate about them and one of the best ways to ignite that passion in our students and bring them into our subjects world view is to tweet. As a Psychology and Sociology teacher this was particularly easy as even the morning news often has social and ethical implications.
We had the experimental twitter feed as part of the school improvement plan which gave me some protection if anything went wrong. I trialled it for two months before we opened it up to the whole department and by then several other departments had set up their own feeds. I gave all students copies of the twitter teen safety policy and kept our feed private, locked to those not approved. This might seem paranoid to those outside the world of education but duty of care comes first.
The outcomes were overwhelmingly positive with students often referencing articles I had tweeted. Although it would have been valuable to involve student in tweeting this felt wrong and we kept it one way only. We made it clear that we did not follow back and would rather pull out our own eye lashes that look at their tweets. But the fact that they knew we could was probably no bad thing.
Aside form supporting wider reading/ viewing this experiment had another excellent outcome. Students started to consider their online presence more carefully. We discussed the fact that anyone could see what they were tweeting and some students looked a little concerned. We have a generation who's comments will follow them into their professions and we as educators have a responsibility to teach them how to manage their social media use.