You will no doubt have heard of twittclasses, where teachers use microblogging site Twitter as a teaching tool – but have you heard of the “twictation,” an interactive dictation in under 140 characters? A number of French schools have been experimenting with this method, designed to familiarise students with digitals tools on the one hand whilst adopting the younger generation’s use of technology to engage them in the learning process and thus help them improve spelling skills through a collaborative approach.
“twictAtion”: HOW DOES IT WORK?
The principle of a twictation is the same as a traditional dictation: the teacher dictates a sentence of 140 characters (i.e. the tweet format), which he/she has previously prepared with colleagues from other twittclasses. Students write down the sentence individually then are put into small groups so they can deliberate together over the correct spelling of each word. The groups then write out each sentence on the class tablet or PC and send it via private message on Twitter to their partner twittclass. The second twittclass then marks it and tweets the corrected version along with explanations.
The twictation is the brainchild of teachers Régis Forgione and Fabien Hobart. In addition to the advantages of getting students to mark each others’ work, these micro-dictations also teach children how to use digital tools, master the art of retweeting and hashtags, whilst getting the hang of touch screens and interactive digital whiteboards. It’s also an opportunity for the school staff to think about its digital identity and the issue of data security. Some teachers, such as Alexandre Acou,have asked their class to draw up and sign a social media charter.
The twictation is revolutionising teaching methods by creating diverse learning situations, and using Twitter and digital tools make for a more interactive and stimulating learning experience for children.
Christelle Prudon, a twittclass teacher at a primary school near Paris, is delighted at pupils’ enthusiasm:
“They cheer every time I say we’re going to do a twictation. It allows them to play an active role in the learning experience. And they love it when another class retweets them.”
The advantages of the exercise are obvious: a fun way of learning to spell, plus getting students to mark each others’ work creates a sense of solidarity. But twictations and the teaching 2.0 method in general aren’t possible without the necessary equipment: at the very least, tablets or PCs in the classroom. Providing equipment for the school shouldn’t be seen as a secondary issue, and there are a number of obstacles need to be overcome.
The twittclass is a prime example of how schools can be digital makers and instruments of a major change: they’re actively contributing to bringing about equal opportunity in education, through the Digital for All, Now movement.
> See also on Digital for All, Now :
– School is dead: long live school! A look at schools that have gone digital.
Photo credit: Darren Barefoot – Twitter Birds, Close Up (Flickr.com / Licence CC BY-NC 2.0)