Carl in the driver's seat of the maglev train

American Maglev Technology makes magnetically levitated trains. My physics class and I had the opportunity to learn from the engineer and CEO today during our visit to their test track about an hour from our school. We had an amazing time!

The tech tie-in is that we set up in advance to use Twitter to capture updates from our experience. Below is a sampling of student comments.


Credit for the idea of Twittering a field trip goes to Dale Basler in his post “Journal via text messaging during field trip”.

The Twitter experience worked out better than I expected. That said, I remain unconvinced that this technique beats giving each student a little notebook with a pen. Maybe it’s just infinitely cooler. And maybe that’s enough. Either way, if you want to try Twittering a field trip, here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Set up a Twitter account for the class and individual accounts for each student. Have students add their phone under Settings > Devices so they may text message updates. Test this out before field trip day!
  2. Talk with the students in advance about being discreet. Mine understood the importance and respected our hosts. In fact, I never noticed my kids Twittering during the trip.
  3. Alert your field trip host(s) that the students will be taking notes on their phones so they’re prepared to see the kids tapping away (do step #2 well and step #3 could be a non-issue).
  4. Students may forget to Twitter. Encourage them to send updates during the bus ride home.
  5. When you return, log in to the class account and star the best updates. The Favorites page will display all starred tweets. This will let you filter out extraneous updates, especially from students using Twitter regularly.