Do Teens Use Twitter?

Posted on August 25th, 2011 in thoughts | No Comments »

Common wisdom says teens don’t twitter

Here’s a few articles saying exactly that (in chronological order 2011 to 2009)
http://blog.eloqua.com/why-teens-dont-use-twitter/
http://mashable.com/2010/02/03/teens-dont-tweet-or-blog/
http://techcrunch.com/2009/08/30/why-dont-teens-tweet-we-asked-over-10000-of-them/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jul/13/twitter-teenage-media-habits
http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/online_mobile/teens-dont-tweet-twitters-growth-not-fueled-by-youth/

While it may be the case that the majority of teens don’t tweet judging by today’s trends on Twitter in the UK they certainly have a strong presence.

Twitter trends UK 25th Aug 2011

Twitter trends UK 25th Aug 2011

All the trending items with a red arrow annotated show topics related to GCSE examinations. These UK examinations are typically taken by 16 year olds.

It may be that most teens don’t use twitter, it’s probably true that most people don’t use twitter, but of those that do teens certainly have the power to make their voices heard. Imagine what they could do if they clubbed together – the student voice could become quite powerful!

I did a presentation last week at the World ORT Wingate Seminar which included a 15 minute piece on why Twitter is a great tool for teachers and educators. I’ll add the video and information in a separate post when it is ready.

One of the old Twitter tricks to show how Twitter is useful is to ask your followers to say hi, where they are from and answer a question. I asked my followers to say hi and tell us a great resource. I wasn’t specific about the resource as I wanted to show the people I was presenting to the range of people and resources out there. As always I was astounded by the replies which I have embedded below.

If you (PC) Hold Ctrl + click on the names you should be able to get directly to each person’s twitter account in a new tab on your browser.





Many thanks to @mrshgm @mr_mclaughlin @bredano @monprof @antheald @mark_dubois @kristianstill @redmenace56 @h1moodle @cbrannon @langwitches @dan_bowen @yvonneosborn @gvibe @carolskyring @islayian @relativism @dwsm for their help.

Last Tuesday I ran a session at Limmud conference on E-tools for education and community building at Limmud Conference UK.

As promised I am including links to all the resources discussed here, this post also gives me a chance to thank all the people who helped me put the session together.

You can watch the session replayed via Flashmeeting here http://flashmeeting.e2bn.net/fm/fmm.php?pwd=6091f7-11930&jt=00:19:52
It’s all taken via a laptop webcam so no great quality but if you listen with headphones you should be able to hear the audio fine and I will link to the presentation below.

During the presentation I explained 4 main tools, Flashmeeting, Twitter, Voicethread and Google Apps as well as passing references to Wallwisher and blogging via posterous.

You can see the voicethread I created below or via this direct link

Thanks to the following people who participated, many of whom have excellent blogs and websites that are linked to via their twitter profiles.

Allanah King @allanahk
Drew Thomson @mrthomson
Peter Eckstein @redmenace56
Mark Carls @mcarls
Judy Mckenzie @judykmck
Chris @infernaldepart who also linked to his blog post on using twitter here

Thanks to the 5 Flashmeeting contributors including the following who left their twitter names.
Caren @jlearn20
Peter @redmenace56
Adena @PELIE_org

For those that don’t know Flashmeeting it’s a great and really simple tool for online meetings and discussion, I usually use the E2BN server at www.flashmeeting.e2bn.net which is free for UK Educators, an alternative is the Open University Open Learn server which seems to be open to all as long as you are happy for your meeting to be syndicated.

A couple of online participants mentioned the open Google Document “Useful Web 2.0 Tools for Jewish Educators and Staff Developers” – it is a a quickly growing and already large resource listing so many great web tools but also with links to tutorials and examples of each tool being used in education, a great resource for anyone in education.

Another list is one I compiled last year for a similar presentation where I asked people to submit their favourite tool via a Google Form, you can see the results at this link.

And an example use of wallwisher to compile yet more tools is here

Finally a link to my presentation from the session here also embedded below – it’s not a standalone presentation but maybe if you watch it alongside the flashmeeting linked to above it will make sense!

For the last two years I’ve been studying for an MA in ICT in Education at Leeds University. The last piece of the puzzle my MA Critical Study (a 15,000 word research project) went in the post last week and the process has come to an end. Looking back the whole MA was proof of the power of online collaboration, from start to finish.

To start the story at the beginning; in 2006 I was looking for an e-learning related MA. I was a regular reader and poster of the forums at the Times Educational Supplement. Another contributor recommended the MA at Leeds that she was taking and one thing led to another. I’ve since recommended another person the same way!

My entire MA was via online distance learning using the First Class learning environment. There were both online and face to face students. Lecture notes and podcasts were posted online. We had a forum to discuss set reading or tasks and we met once a week online for a live discussion on a topic set by our tutor; often and article or an assignment. At the end of each module we wrote a 6000 word assignment to prove that we had learnt something. (Though that sounds a little cynical the assignments really helped me revise much of what I had learned).

One of the problems of being an online learner can be a lack of community. This was certainly hard. Often our discussion forums were quiet and pleas for help in the class discussion forums drew few responses. This is where my other communities came into use especially when it came to my critical study. Being a science (computer science) graduate I had no prior experience of carrying out a research project for my bachelors degree. Back then I wrote a piece of software and wrote about the process and how it worked. For my MA study I wanted to research how my students used VLEs. The whole process was new to me. My first port of call online was a message sent to the Mirandanet discussion list asking for details of any academic research on VLEs in schools. The response was small but gave me some excellent leads. A similar question to my twitter network brought back some other leads and as I delved further and found other links I shared them back to my twitter followers some of whom found the links equally useful.

My next problem was creating a research questionnaire. I put my draft out to twitter as well as to some friends (via e-mail). Two individuals on twitter gave me some superb feedback (David Nobel and Theo Kuchell) on how to improve my quesitonnaire. Help with analysing the data came via e-mail from two other people that I had never met before, one the research methods tutor at Leeds University and the other a friend of a friend in Manchester. When it was all done it was time for the dreaded proof reading. Again twitter proved very fruitful with great comments and extra commas from Lisa Stephens, Mary Cooch, Ian Usher and Dale Jones.

My acknowledgements page was large and proof of the power of online communities. Of the 12 people I mentioned by name I had only met 4 in person.

Now the MA is done I’ll have more time to spend on rebuilding our school VLE from scratch and I’ll keep you updated right here!