tumblr.pngtwitter.pngjaiku.pngpownce.gif What´s microblogging?

Wikipedia explains that Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually less than 200 characters) and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3 or the web.

You need time to blog but having to write something in only 200 characters is wonderful if you lack time. My baby and my daughter are very demanding and microblogging allows me to be in touch with educators that share my same passion. Claudia Ceraso told me about Twitter in a face to face meeting we had in a Chinese restaurant called Todos Contentos in Buenos Aires. At the beginning I didn´t understand what it was all about but I can assure you that I learnt more in 2 months with Twitter than in many conferences.

There are many microblogging tools and if you can´t decide among Pownce, Twitter, Jaiku or Tumblr just post to all of them at the same time and after figuring out all their features you can decide which one is the best according to your teaching objectives.

How is microblogging being used in ESL classrooms? Below you will find a short list with some examples .

  • Twitter limits each entry to 140 characters (about the length of this writing so far) before the entry is saved and made viewable to others. Other Twitter users, “Twits,” can then respond to the original twit. This is a great way to get reluctant writers or students who are having trouble getting ideas for creative writing to brainstorm with each other. Source: Free Technology for Teachers
  • For Tuesday your primary homework is to use and become familiar with Twitter. You don’t necessarily need to follow everyone in the class but add in at least ten to get the Twitter experience. You can also choose to follow people who are not in our class. Source: Storytelling for New Media
  • Pownce is a great utility for starting conversations about events in the news. Post a link to a news story and have students reply, the formatting of Pownce allows users to reply to replies or to the original post. Pownce is a useful application for continuing conversation after class has ended. In their replies students can add related videos, web links, and images. Source: Free Technology for Teachers
  • Take a look at this great post on Twitter for Academia.
  • I think Twitter could be ideal for reminding students about homework, trips and such things, especially as they can enter their mobile phone number to be alerted when one of their ‘friends’ updates their account. The advantage is that you don’t need to know the phone numbers of students to get messages onto their device: they are the ones who authorize their mobile phone from the website and they subscribe to your Twitter feed. Source: Teaching.mrbelshaw

WordPress launcheda new microblogging feature last week called. Prologue. “Basically how it works is when someone has the ability to post to a blog they see a short form at the top of the home page with a post box and tags. There they can post short messages about what they’re doing.”

How are you planning to use these tools this year? I still have to continue researching and investigating but can obviously observe the great potential these tools have. I´m a technervy teacher!!!! This means I do what I can to show my students how to use technology.


  1. Jennifer,
    I really enjoyed the experience of our meeting at the Chinese restaurant. Lunch is an understatement, for we stayed until they kicked us out! But that’s another blog post.

    About Twitter, I think this is a careful analysis of classroom possibilities. I also believe it is important to keep in mind the variety of uses teachers have displayed just for themselves and not always thinking of a potential class activity. For that I invite you and your readers to take a look at the wiki I created to illustrate some of the many uses I have seen:
    I love the freshness of the examples collected there, but again, they are just examples…Possibilities are limitless.

    I think you just touched a nerve with your comment that students may keep their phone numbers private and simply *choose* how they would rather be notified of the teacher’s updates.

  2. These days I cannot use my computer at home, I don’t even dare to have a look at Google reader, I’m reading almost nothing. But I have a look at twitter every day. I feel it’s like reading a personal newspaper.
    I still can’t figure out how my students could use it. But I think that having to express your thoughts in a few words is a good language exercise. Good for teens, who tend to add too much irrelevant information to their writings.

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