Tweeting at fever pitch in France

| March 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

An experiment started in France is gaining in popularity in that nation’s schools. In 2010, a group of primary school students became the first to use Twitter to learn how to read and write.

While tweeting is popular, many French schools still incorporate pen and paper into the learning process. A student must first write a tweet correctly the ‘old-fashioned’ way before typing it on a shared digital document and then copying and pasting it into the software managing Twitter. The short message then appears on a smartboard on the classroom wall, along with messages from followers of the class.

The first French primary school ‘twittclass’ was conducted during a school trip to Paris. Parents could follow the tweets posted by their children from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre. Stéphanie de Vanssay, a member of a teacher network for students with special education needs, says Twitter makes pupils see that reading and spelling is not just about getting good marks at school. “Just writing a line makes no real sense, but writing it for someone does,” she says.

Well-known and respected psychologist and therapist Yann Leroux says Twitter, used effectively, can break down inhibitions. “Children quickly learn that something written on paper stays whereas on the internet, things can be erased. It avoids the guilt a mistake can provoke, and allows you to try new things without fear.” The French education ministry has cautioned schools to enforce codes of conduct with regard to the use of Twitter in class. As French teachers become used to the medium, they are using Twitter for all kinds of tasks, including playing chess with classes in other countries. 

Category: Autumn 2014, e-Education

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