The ever fabulous Bertram Richter @bertramrichter did not disappoint this year again. Head of a thriving department, Bertram seems to constantly push the boundaries of ICT in the class as in his words, ICT levels the playing field.
ReTwitter, the pupils like the fact that it is not a live audience. Why Twitter? It is authentic. Bertram urges us to show them the real thing and its power. You firstly need Twitter unblocked. He then set up Twitter MFL account with a google email account, designing a small number of generic names, passwords and usernames eg Waterlooroad1 @waterlooroadun password waterlooroadun
The question teachers most often ask themselves is "Is it safe?" Bertram has produced a Code of conduct, he monitors the email stream, he protects the tweets and he keeps the passwords. He can see all the kids' messages inc DMs. Bertram logs them in so they can't change settings. He advises using a TL word so they can't guess it. His A2 pupils are in charge of their own account, signing the Code and a copy goes home to parents.
Using Twitter has taught pupils unique vocab eg uploading. With junior classes, he groups them with at least one sensible person per group, only need to log 5 on.
Bertram then talked about some uses of Twitter. With A level A2 Communism Bertram throws famous quotes and statements at them and they have to respond. He is able to tease things out, and he finds pupils open up much more and develop ideas.
Another topic with KS4 was AfL - How is work in German schools assessed? They respond and this is great for Cultural understanding. The teacher can correct their tweets, and indeed is able to correct more than in real time
Pupils can use Twitter as a research tool, using the hash tags to index exam topics. When they see something online they tweet it using the hashtag for that topic. If you use Hootsuite you can embed that stream into the blog. Using the Twitter hashtags is a way of bringing order into the chaos of social media. It provides a structure for exams, as they can't lose it.
Again at A level, Bertram has set HW to meet from 5-5.30pm on Twitter. Bertram sees the HW as it happens. If there is a topic that they struggle with, then they tweet about the same topic that night. They tweet role playing characters such as one who was betrayed, one a soldier, one who betrays, etc. You could easily do the same for literature, taking a character each.
Bertram is acquainted with @GermanAtAston on Twitter. They tweeted the class in class time. It was easier than Skype for half an hour. They had questions to ask and looked at her answers. This then set the work for the next couple of weeks, looking at her answers. She pitched language well for A level.
They use Twitter once a fortnight. With Paper.li they have to read and feed back. They could do a newspaper using their tweets. At KS4 they have competitions and it is very clear who has answered in what order.
This was a superb talk and has left me very inspired re Twitter and its potential in the language classroom.