First of all, my school district has been very open minded about attempting to use social media in school. If it is monitored by the teachers and used for a learning process, the administration has been all for it. I am grateful for this. I think allowing social media is a great tool and it's something different that kids will use. I also think opening it up to them teaches them more social responsibility and more about digital citizenship. If they see how it is being used in the real world, they are going to learn more about it and do it right.
I start off the school year having all of my students create a twitter account. We have set hashtags for each class. Since I teach French, I use #hhsfrench1, #hhsfrench2, etc. I have not seen those tags used any other time, so I am pretty fortunate to use them. Since the group tweet program is running now, I will look into using that as well. It can keep the kids tweets private and only I can see what they say. I have a twitter account set up for my personal use as well as one for school. My students are all instructed to follow my school account. I follow them back. I don't use my school account often. I usually just access it when we are doing tasks on twitter. Some of my students also follow my personal account, but I think once they see how many things I tweet about education, they lose interest and unfollow me.
When it comes time to do things, I use twitter in a few different ways. I have the kids tweet sentences to me about things we did in class. I use it as an exit slip. I have a few kids who prefer to submit their assignments via twitter and not on paper. Works for me. I set up my google reader account to follow that hashtag and I can refer to it later.
I have used twitter to have the kids connect with people from other countries. They ask questions of them or merely read their posts and summarize for me. I give them names of famous people in Francophone places and a few newspapers and have them follow those. They summarize what they read to me.
This year, we are making a few connections with other schools so they will hopefully have the opportunity to tweet with their new colleagues abroad.
On an additional note, I also have a twitter account set up for the school library and the yearbook. When I need images, I tweet and kids send them to me. I use the library account to announce new books we have added, contests we are doing and special events. I have a good number of students who follow the library on twitter and use it to find out a lot of information.
I am a twitter freak. My husband makes fun of me because of how many things I post on twitter. He calls me a twitterer. Oh well, I am proud to be a twitterer and excited to share it with my studens.