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Using Twitter with Primary or Elementary Students

Under age social media

Should elementary students be using Twitter? They are under 13 and Twitter does not ask for an age when signing up for a Twitter account, however under the Twitter User Agreement under Section II Twitter Privacy Policy, "Our Policy Towards Children" it states:

"Our Services are not directed to persons under 13. If you become aware that your child has provided us with personal information without your consent, please contact us here. We do not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal information, we take steps to remove such information and terminate the child’s account. You can find additional resources for parents and teens here."

Therefore if personal information is not being collected of the student under the age of 13, can the student still tweet if they are using a classroom account that is managed by the teacher? If the name of the student is not associated to the tweet in any way and the content of the tweet is approved by the teacher, can students under 13 still tweet?

I was approached by a teacher who wanted the students to ask public questions to big companies regarding important issues. This was part of a transdisciplinary module of work for a Grade 5 group of students. Twitter is a very current issue and is being used extensively by politicians and other public figures to report news, ideas, comments and opinions. I therefore saw the use of Twitter for such a project as a way students could start to understand best practice with using Twitter and how they could use this project to learn more the importance of being a responsible digital citizen. It was an opportunity for the teacher to talk about the impact of Twitter on the world and how it should be used appropriately. It was a fantastic learning opportunity for the students and was integrated directly into their current unit.

These students were at an age where signing up for any social media provider was only a year or two away. So they needed to understand the dangers and the benefits of using social media before they were exposed to creating their accounts at the age of 13.

So, I wanted a solution where the students could freely post their comment to twitter without having to create an account. I wanted to use Google Forms. The students would complete a Google Form with their name and their tweet and when submitted would create a tweet which would be posted on the Classroom Twitter account.

I found Zapier, which is an online method of using one application to trigger another. I have created the this video tutorial that goes through the process of achieving this. The free version of Zapier is sufficient to do this, but it is worth noting that it has a few restrictions, such as a zap can only run 100 times each month. You would need the following:

There is a supplementary video that goes alongside this to explain how teachers can add authorisation so that student tweets can be monitored before posting to twitter.

There are many teachers around the world blogging about using Twitter in the Primary/Elementary classroom. I find it an incredible way to apply learning to real life projects, where students can get involved with what the world is discussing. I feel using the method described above is a safe way for students to do this.

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