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White space just large enough to enter 140 characters. Spaces included. Yet it seems easy, even banal. How can a text of about twenty words make students want to write? The most innovative educators see great potential in this.
At the Commission scolaire des Laurentides, students in the Brigitte Leonard are in first year. Like all the other 6 and 7 year olds, they experience writing situations to develop their skills. They learn to handle the pencil and write texts of varying lengths. They, however, tweet.
What exactly are they writing? “Our class subscribes to about twenty others,” explains the teacher. We write about our daily lives, we compose sentences around different themes. We respond to tweets from other classes and sometimes even to parents who ask us questions. It's a great way to open up to other realities ”. If pupils in a class in Belgium mention that they will be on leave on the 1ster May because of Labor Day, those of Brigitte take the opportunity to describe their future profession. If their friends from Gabon mention that the rainy season is underway, the teacher collects this information in a social environment. “Human contact is often more interesting than reading information in books,” she says.
Ms. Léonard did not embark on the adventure overnight. Such a project is being prepared. She took some time to familiarize herself with the tool and make it personal. “At first, I didn't understand anything about Twitter at all,” she says. Then by observing the pioneering work of other classes, such as that of Mr. Masson, I saw interesting educational avenues for children. I defined my project at the end of the school year to present it to parents at the start of the school year. "
Annie side, for his part, teaches French in Secondary V at the Premier-Seigneuries school board. She not only used Twitter as a writing aid, but she was one of the first to have her students tweet. His idea of giving a weekly homework in 140 characters (stack!) got up quickly. “Because it's a game,” she says. Because it's fun ". Indeed, his students let themselves be taken. After four weeks of homework on Twitter, his students asked him to continue the exercise. “We're just starting to have fun,” they told him.
Is it easy? Not necessarily, since the teacher does not accept any compromise. No abbreviations, no smileys, no popular language. “Everything must be written in good French,” she adds. It happens that some students, by chance, get it right the first time, but some others work for up to two hours on their 140 characters ”.