Nickable Ideas (#1 in a series of several) – Twitter Homework notification system

This has probably already been done before and I’m sure that there are a billion reasons why it will fail etc etc. Personally, I think it would work.

I was trying to work out how I could know what homework my daughter had been set at school. She has a planner, obviously, but I’m not convinced that the process is fool-proof. Some local schools I know have invested in an online system. Teachers put the homework on the system and a student or parent can look online and see what home work has to be done. This obviously requires an investment by the school. The danger with such systems is that they take over the process, then they become the mechanism to hand in the homework, and mark it. Before you know it your homework policy is being defined by a computer system rather than the other way around. The trick is to keep it simple and restrict how far it can expand.

We need a simple way to get short messages to a group of individuals that they don’t have to reply to. Short message. Simple. Groups of readers. Sounds a bit like Twitter to me. So here is my model for a homework notification system based on Twitter.

  • Every Department to have a Twitter account. Many schools do this already, my daughters does.
  • Either enable all teachers in department to Tweet on account (preferred method) or have a central tweeter (not preferred, extra layer of admin, why do it). An alternative (which would work but possibly more confusing for teachers, students and parents) would be for each Teacher to have their own school twitter account.
  • Give out homework in the usual way. You can even require students to write it in their planner. You could even tweet a picture of the home page from a book (giving due regard to copyright, of course).
  • Then the homework is tweeted. Use a hashtag to define the class. Put the hand-in date on the tweet. If 140 characters is too short then point a link at your VLE with the detailed homework on (you can attach documents in this way as well), or as above take a picture of what you have already written on the board.
  • As a student I just need to have a My Homework list or use a search column in one of the Twitter clients with the hashtags. Same with parents. Geeky types may want to use something like IFTTT to automatically put tweeted homework in the calendar.

It’s cheap (pardon the pun), it’s easy to use (so many different clients to use to Tweet makes it easy for teachers) and universally available. It has the added benefit of dragging all your teachers kicking and screaming into the twitter-sphere.

If anyone is using this already please feedback through the comments.