Twitter – a quick communication tool

Twitter is a ‘micro-blogging’ tool that lets you send and receive short messages. Tweets, or messages, contain no more than 140 characters including punctuation and spaces, so messages have to be short and sweet. The information you send in your message is meant to answer the question, ‘What are you doing?’ 


You can invite contacts to join Twitter and you can decide who can read your updates. Your updates can be displayed on your Twitter homepage, sent via email, instant messaging, RSS, (SMS but this is currently only available in USA, Canada, UK and India) and to Facebook pages. You can also set Twitter to ‘quiet time’ when you don’t want to be interrupted, or you’re just sick of being able to be contacted all of the time.

Twitter could be a useful tool for colleagues working together in different locations, or for students collaborating on projects.  Other applications such as authoring tools, mashups, search engines and voice to Twitter (Twitterfone) have been developed to complement Twitter. However, not all of the applications have been devised by the people behind Twitter. The Twitter Blog is a useful tool that lists a range of Twitter applications. The blog keeps up to date with what’s hot and it also provides a dictionary of ‘Twitter lingo’.

20 thoughts on “Twitter – a quick communication tool

  1. It is very hard to access twitter with the block on it from DEECD. The time delay once the systems admin has unblocked means that unless I clear some time at home, I will not be able to complete the task. Very frustrating as I would like to explore the potential for use in classrooms.

    • I think you’ll find it is your school filter or ISP blocking it as I have used Twitter in a DEECD school. Perhaps talk to the powers that be at your school?

  2. Firewalls and policy seem to be major problems for all of us. Appart from wasting time it would seem that there is a lot of potential both for the individual and the class to use these devises (I do need a spell check though!!!!!!!!!)

  3. Managed to get Twitter un-blocked, but have still had some computer problems. Going is slow but hopefully things will improve.

  4. I started tweets when I went to a session on it at the ACEC conference .I t has taken me a while to get the hang of it . I think I will find it useful to network with other teachers and to access what great things people are doing and to share things I am doing as my school is quite isolated in terms of collaborating collegially with other schools.

  5. I love the idea of networking with other teachers. I teach in a school that goes from Year 5-12. As a Year 5 teacher, I miss communicating and sharing ideas with other primary teachers, and being in a rural area makes it more difficult as well. However, I’m still unsure as to the difference between posting a comment on a blog such as this one, or on a Ning or Twitter. Other than the restricted access that a Ning offers, are the communication objectives and protocols the same? Should a comment such as this one, have been better posted on the Ning? Or left on my own blog (not that there’s much to it at the moment!)

    • I find being a little isolated, Twitter does make my life so much easier and supported. You can add comments wherever you wish. You could write a post about this on your blog and add a quick comment and link to Twitter for other people to then comment on your blog. Whatever suits you best, which will evolve over time.

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  7. Even with the DEECD block, Twitter could be a useful contact tool bwn staff or students and staff, esp senior students, out of school hours. I guess until we, as a teaching and learning community, become comfortable with the newer forms of media contact and value their capacity for alternate communication, mobile phones and services such as twitter will be viewed with caution, which is a shame.

    • The DEECD has not blocked Twitter as I can use it at my DEECD school. You may have to look into school or ISP blocking.

      Personally, I have found Twitter an amazing source of educational ideas, sharing and discourse.

  8. I think that schools that continue to block and ignore social networking sites will be soon be easily outsmarted by tech savey students. With the increased uptake of iphones I have already observed that some students have access to these sites via the phone in the school grounds using wireless apps. Even if the school has a policy of no phones at school many students and, dare I say it, parents ignore this rule, and it impossible to patrol every area of the school at all times! I am well aware of the concerns about social networking expressed by some parents, staff, school admin and education depts, and I certainly agree with many of their fears, however as long as we refuse to engage with the technology our students are left with few boundries and virtually no role models for how they interact on line. How can this be seen by anyone as a good outcome of our current policy approach to social networking online?

  9. The block on Twitter in DEECD. When it is blocked by “Netscape” and a red screen appears, that is a department block. Yes the IT people in your school can unblock these, if they want, but I am guessing other schools like mine are not prepared to do this at this stage.
    For me the really frustrating part is that these sites can be unblocked for staff and access denied to students, but apparently “we” are not responsible enough to use it appropriatley!! What am I 12?

  10. I feel like a dinosaur but maybe I’m a twitt ? I found all these comments interesting but I particularly connected with titus321. your last point is a good one and confronted my fears but my fears are hugh due to my inexperience hense this course!!!

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