Please Sir, how do you re-tweet? – Twitter to be taught in UK primary schools

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No, it is not April 1st yet. The British government is proposing that Twitter is to be taught in primary (elementary) schools as part of a wider push to make online communication and social media a permanent part of the UK’s education system. And that’s not all. Kids will be taught blogging, podcasting and how to use Wikipedia alongside Maths, English and Science.

The draft plans were due to be published next month, but have leaked early to The Guardian. Children will also learn “fluency” in handwriting and keyboard skills, and how to use a spellchecker. Luckily they will still be taught how to spell themselves, rather than rely on Mr Clippy.

It’s a big overhaul of current thinking. Children will no longer be absolutely required to study the Victorians or the Second World War, as Teachers get a much freer hand in what goes on in the classroom in the biggest changes to primary schooling in a decade.

Traditional education in areas like phonics, the chronology of history and mental arithmetic remain but modern media and web-based skills and environmental education now feature.

The plans were drawn up by Sir Jim Rose, the former Ofsted chief, appointed by ministers to overhaul the primary school curriculum, and are due to be published next month.

  • Nicholas Lovell

    I’m all in favour of teaching people computer and multimedia literacy, but is there not a real danger that by the time it gets approved for the classroom, kids will be being taught about email, Friends Reunited and Piczo, when the world is now Facebook, Twitter and Moshi.

    In other words, can the government really keep up with technological innovation in the classroom? Seems unlikely.

    • info

      I agree with a lot that was said but unfortunately you have to face several trials to prioritize a few of the things that were said.

      For example: If you are building a product that is meant to be “naturally viral” or “naturally good” but you are competing with someone else that is already existing in the market place, scaling down your product could actually hurt you. The reason for this is because many consumers will not change they habits if the difference is not substantially enhanced enough to change.

      So in this sense, it can be harmful to release a “scaled back” product to the public if there are already direct competitors offering the same product with little differences.

      The bottom line though is you must truly enjoy what you do to become successful and the more planning and infrastructure you implement prior to releasing a product, the better off you are.

      The average time from “conception” to “market” is seven years for a successful national / international company and the first five years of that should be spent planning and building the infrastructure.

      Its true that time is essential in the internet world because of how many new products are continuously being launched and how fast technology advances, but there is something to be said about the companies that take their time to pay attention to every detail of their company prior to revealing it to the consumers eye.

      You might get a consumer base quickly on the internet because the techies are curious but you wont retain them because typically they are not your standard “web consumer”. Believe it our not, but half of the population still is technology ignorant so when they get online they are looking for specifics and most of the time its a site that a friend told them about or they saw in traditional media that caught their attention based on a current “need”.

      So if you can fill a market need, appeal to the masses, dumb down you product, pick up the slack of a competitor and believe in your product, you will be in great shape for success. “Your Night’s On Us!” Shop, Work, Play & Plan -Coming in 2009!

      • info

        RJ Garbowicz is the current Founder/CEO of Extreme Enterprises, Inc.(EEI), an American, Delaware registered, privately held company. RJ is also the Chairman and majority shareholder of EEI. As recently released, EEI has reported a $30 million valuation based on a stock purchase in the amount of $180,000 for 0.6% ownership made by PlanLogix, LLC, a software development company that has been contracted by EEI.[2] RJ is an American Businessperson in the technology industry.

        Virginia Wendt, Aunt through marriage to actor George Wendt, is also the Great Aunt to RJ Garbowicz, making RJ a distant cousin to the actor, George Wendt. [3]


  • Tim

    Will they use Urban Dictionary in English lessons too?

    • Kimber Lockhart

      Why not?

      Students need to be able to make educated decisions for themselves about what type of wording to use in different situations.

      Languages change.

      • Luís Ferreira

        Agora responde lá a esta:

        e se fosses à merda!!!



  • Andreas Stephan

    I think you should never teach technology but paradigms and processes instead.
    So it’s basically about more about fostering media education in UK primary schools, isn’t it? Still a catchy headline ;)

  • Xavier Lur

    Teaching students about Twitter? LOL! Actually, there is nothing much to teach about Twitter except how did Barack Obama has used it to win the Presidential election last year.

    • Olé


      This is one of the most mentally retarded gov’t initiatives in the UK.

      I think their gov’t should go back to school themselves, before making any more decisions – unless they want to spiral down in stupidity.

  • Wendy Tan White

    We’re in a post PC era, my four year old uses youtube on my iphone, my 18mth old daughter plays with the bubblewrap app. To them it’s just part of life and nothing special. I’m all in favour of an overhaul to schools curriculum with regards to tech and media however I’m a little skeptical that putting Twitter on the agenda is just the government jumping on a fad. More optimistically they’re just mentioning this to get picked up on the news and there is a more considered well researched programme of change behind this?

  • Sean Duffy

    This will undoubtedly spawn a new West-End musical “Oliver Twit”

  • devolute

    So just to re-cap:

    Important: Twitter.

    Not important: World War 2

    • Robin

      hahahaha – I couldn’t of said it better

      • Ken Frank

        Your bad use of “couldn’t of” instead of “couldn’t have” shows which is more important to you :-p

      • Fyre Vortex

        Lol. And wow. I wonder what would happen if Twitter decided to show inline ads between tweets on the web Twitter, or force ads within Twitter clients. :\

        Mass Twitter outrage?

    • Tedeks

      Perfect…hahaha too funny

  • Joanne Jacobs

    Presumably this is more for the teachers than the students, the latter of whom already know the technology. Also, presumably this is about information access (keyword search through or similar), not account formation, as under the twitter Terms of Service, the minimum age for account setup is 13 years.

  • Ben Werdmuller

    The skills that let kids use Internet technologies effectively also work in the real world: being able to evaluate resources critically, communicating well, being careful with strangers and your personal information, conducting yourself in a manner appropriate to your environment. Those things are, and should be, taught in schools. It’s also a good idea to teach kids how to use computers, including web browsers etc, and how those real-world skills translate online.

    Twitter, Wikipedia, Facebook et al really should not be an enforced part of the curriculum. It’s short-sighted, promotes brand lock-in in schools, and ultimately smacks of hype-dizzy incompetence. Who exactly is advising the Department of Education?

  • Vygantas

    Is there any way to unsubsribe from twitter posts? I’ve been receiving them here, mashable, makretingpilgrim and other sites.

    I don’t want to waste time every day deleting all the tiwtter posts. I just simply don’t care about it

    • Mike Butcher

      Yeah, you unfollow /remove the people you are following who are producing the posts you don’t like. Maybe I should go into teaching…?

      • Ben Werdmuller

        I think they mean posts here *about* Twitter.

        It’s called “skipping the article”, I think.

      • Vygantas

        Well, then there are 2-8 posts about it every day… It’s a lot to skip

      • Vygantas

        Twitter posts in news sites like this*

      • Kevin

        Skip over them?

        Or unsubscribe to news sites that cover technology?

        Can I be a teacher too?

      • brad northrop

        I think the deluge of twitter stories on TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Silicon Alley Insider, and Mashable is because they have Federated Media as their ad network.

        Federated Media is premised on ‘ads as conversation’. So every post is a unit of convo-ad, where ads-qua-conversation are conflated with pseudo-journalism.

        GigaOm recently dropped Federated Media as its ad network, and their twitter news stories have noticeably dropped.

        One conversation to rule them all. bahaha.

        Christ, I hate hype, and spin.

  • Martin

    I think teaching kids HOW TO use Wikipedia is a step forward from ordering them NOT TO use it, as they presently do in many North American classrooms.

  • Asha

    Simple response: NO!

    Maybe we first learn how to teach math, science, and maybe english. You know: things one needs to know to design/build technology and communicate their message to customers and partners.

  • Lee Martin

    This is a great story, I am all for teaching technology to pupils, however it has to be at the root level. In other words instead of teaching them how to use Microsoft Word, they need to be taught how to use a word processor. Open Source software is the future and therefore we need to concentrate on the wheels and not the vehicle!

  • Falafulu Fisi

    People everywhere are mesmerized by technology and forgetting that learning how to use a computer is not a core skill at primary school level. This just makes kids lazy in trying to learn cores skills, such as numeracy and science. It is a fact that once someone masters core skills , he/she can easily learn anything.

    Using apps like Twitter should be left for secondary school because kids should be taught core skills. Once kids are well prepared in core skills such as numeracy, then perhaps they can learn how to use Twitter when they reach high school level.

    I had observed that kids who are spending too much time using a computer for entertainment rather than learning are slow learners. I coach a bunch of 7, 8 and 9 year old kids of close relatives in maths in the evening twice a week and the ones that spends too much time on computers at their house are the difficult ones to teach numeracy concepts. I usually go over the same topics with these difficult kids 3 or 4 times (ie, in sessions that run into 2 weeks or more) before they even understand. The ones who don’t use much of a computer to entertain are quick to grasp the concepts. I have taught them of how to solve linear equation and simple linear simultaneous equations by hand. Their parents have bought copies of Mathematica on my advise for their kids to use and I have also showed them of how to type certain commands into Mathematica’s workspace just to confirm their simultaneous equation or linear equation solutions. If they’re not the same with his/her solutions on paper , then the kid would go thru his worksheet paper step-by-step and try to find where he/she went wrong.

    Core skills is very important. Anyone and everyone can learn Photoshop & Word Processing at any stage of their life, but if core skills are missed from an early age, then evidence has shown that there has always been less chance that the missing knowledge could be learnt at a later stage in life.

    Allowing kids to use Twitter is not a core skill that kids need to know or use. It simply increases their wasted time by sending messages back & forth to their friends. The outcome of this is that they will start to feel that it is something so fun to use (an entertainment thing), which distracts them from learning core skills.

    • Chuck

      This is fascinating. Real evidence from someone actually observing and reporting on learning differences aparently caused by undisciplined use of entertainment based browsing. The evidence motivates need for a broader study.

  • TwiTsMAG.COM :: twitter :: Please Sir, how do you re-tweet? - Twitter to be taught in UK primary schools

    […] Please Sir, how do you re-tweet? – Twitter to be taught in UK primary schools […]

  • Jules Morgan

    This is f*cking depressing.

    • Web 2.Hell

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Alexa

    Schools shouldn’t be about teaching content, but about learning to learn, getting the kind of critical skills that can be used in all kinds of contexts, and generating motivation for lifelong learning. Finnish schools are rated the best in the world according to the OECD/PISA ratings, and they have totally de-emphasised the role of content in the curriculum. Twitter could indeed help in the process as it helps children to learn to write in a precise, concise style – absolutely nothing wrong with that from a pedagogical point of view. Encouraging children to write is never a bad thing, no matter what the platform.

  • Sim-O

    Front end stuff shouldn’t be taught. If anything it should be the back end gubbins that should be taught, databases and coding.

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  • Jad

    April Fools. Nice try.

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  • Martin Rabl

    Hmmm…how does this tie in with this report:

    They teach them so that they can spy on them better later? :)

  • James

    Another twitter update.–> I think should automatically redirect to

  • photo sharing

    This is brilliant news.
    twitter is an excellent service. Everyone needs to be made aware :)

  • Robert G

    Right… The one group of people that don’t need teaching about social media is da kidz – they practically invented it anyhow! (Obv they didn’t – a bunch of geeky dudes did, but they made it mainstream).

    What a waste of time.

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