Mike Crawford, teacher at Woodend School, discusses how his students are using Twitter as a vehicle to raise awareness of local environmental issues. Twitter has provided his students with a powerful platform to promote their message of improving the health of two of their local rivers. He also explains the importance of ensuring that children know what behaviour is appropriate online.
Ruby: We’ve got ten children in the gifted and talented salmon group and a couple of teachers too involved.
Mike Crawford: I’m part of the team working with the gifted and talented students here at Woodend and our inquiries into salmon in the Waimakariri river and introducing technology this year into the gifted and talented group. I like to think it’s a big buy-in for them because they’re realising that they have a voice and they can get attention for what they are doing.
Ruby: We use Twitter because there’s obviously lots, thousands of people on Twitter and I think if we use Twitter then we’ll be able to spread the word that we are saving our fish and we need help because the conditions of some of these lakes that we’re looking at are terrible and we need the word to get out there, we need to all join in and help.
Mike Crawford: We chose Twitter as a vehicle because it’s short and sharp, 147 characters. This doesn’t require too much proofing, this is about getting the message out short and sharp and to as many people as possible.
Ruby and Hamish: On the Ashley River trip we took some iPads out to take pictures of the rubbish we found and yeah, some action shots. What we’ve done is we’ve called it Woodend GATE, Woodend gifted and talented and we’ve been doing a lot of tweets in the last 24 hours, so we’ve done three or four and we’ve got about ten photos.
Mike Crawford: When the students are sharing something on the blog or where they’re sharing something on Twitter, I’ve been very conscious of reminding the students about what is appropriate, what is going to get the attention and is it the right attention? The audience out there, they need to be very selective of what they write. Using Twitter, I hope the students realise this is a vehicle for their voice and it is a vehicle for impact.
Ruby: We’ve been to Ashley River and we found some stuff that you should never have found in there, thousands of plastic containers and rubbish and stuff that should not be there.
Mike Crawford: It’s nice to see students getting excited to share their work and the ones getting the most excited are the ones realising that their audience doesn’t stop at the classroom.
Hamish: If we don’t do something about it, soon the population is going to get very small and possibly even extinct. That’s how horrible littering is these days.