Add a Little Twitter to Your Learning Management System

I’ve been using Twitter more and more the past few months, picking up great ideas from other teachers and bloggers. Now I’m considering applications of it with my students. It would make a nice back-channel communication method for students who would like to comment on something without resorting to email. By creating hashtags for my courses, we can all have running conversations on a variety of topics. To encourage that, I’ve embedded a Twitter feed into my courses’ Moodle pages:


Now they can see the tweets my “fractad” feed is getting, as well as send a quick tweet directly to me.

Here are the steps involved in making your very own Twitter feed you can embed in your Moodle, Haiku, or Blackboard page:

1. Go to your Twitter Home page, and click on the gear icon at the top right.

2. Choose “Settings”.

3. In the menu on the left, choose “Widgets”

4. Click the “Create New” button, and select the various settings for your widget.

5. Click the “Create Widget” button, and copy the html code that will appear. Use this code to embed the widget into your LMS page.

One thing that’s very cool – you can create a Twitter feed for any Twitter user. If your school has an account, you can embed that feed into your page. Or, you might want to embed the feed of a professional organization you follow (NCTM, in my case).

If you’re relatively new to Twitter, and you aren’t sure who or what to follow, here’s a list of people and organizations that I’ve found to be very useful:

Math & Science:

@lostinrecursion (Paul Salomon)                             @rmbyrne (Richard Byrne)

@MT_at_NCTM (NCTM Mathematics Teacher)       @Mathalicious

@fnoschese (Frank Noschese, science)                  @ddmeyer (Dan Meyer, math)

@desmos                                                                   @mrbarlow (science)


@Socrative                    @Edudemic

@ASCD                        @KindleTeacher (Meg Griswold, English)

@edutopia                    @kindleworld (Andrys Basten – lots of Kindle tips)

@PatBassett (Former NAIS president)

(Chrome users: don’t forget to install the Notifier for Twitter app!)

Update: I just showed my calculus students the feed on their Moodle page, and they were incredibly excited. I’m already getting lots of interaction with them!


(MT)^2 Presentation: What’s New In A Flipped Classroom

Whatever you do with technology, make sure it fits into your educational philosophy. In other words: determine your philosophy first, then find the tools to make it happen.

The above statement is fast becoming my motto. I thought it up as I was pulling together the notes for a presentation I gave this morning at the annual Middle TN Math Teachers Conference.

The first half was about the successes and difficulties I’ve had teaching in a reverse class setting. I demonstrated how easy it is to create a screencast using screencast-o-matic, and shared how much my students have liked them. We had a very good discussion on how students of different abilities might respond to a reverse classroom.

The second half of the session was devoted to some of my favorite teaching tools: namely, OneNote, Socrative, and FluidMath. I wrapped things up with some tips on how math teachers can utilize the web: get a Twitter account and use it to search math-related topics, use a newsreader like or iGoogle to gather the blog feeds of innovative teachers, or start writing your own blog!

I am more convinced than ever that the future of education is in individualized instruction for students. Every child is unique, and for us to expect that one teaching style and one pace will work for everyone does not make sense. I continue to pursue my goal of providing to each of my students the most appropriate learning experience for her needs.

If you would like to see all of my notes, I’ve converted them into a pdf file that you can download by clicking the link below:

2012 MTMT Presentation

A Nice Tool for Student Responses

I’ve been using Socrative in my classes more and more lately. It is an online polling tool that lets me post a question or problem, and my students can anonymously respond. It’s very flexible – you can offer multiple choice, true/false, short answer, etc. Here’s a screenshot:

They love using it, and I get immediate feedback on how many students understand what we’re learning, and how many need some extra practice. It works with smartphones as well as laptops.