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5 Cool Ways of Using Twitter In Classrooms
Posted on October 13th 2011
Teachers have been taking advantage of Twitter’s format to keep their classes engaged for years now.
Taking the time to learn how to use Twitter has proved worth the return for teachers throughout the world.
Here is a collection of dozens of projects and ideas to get teachers started using Twitter to build a better learning experience for everyone, divided into five categories:
- Expand Learning Possibilities
- Build Writing Skills
- Use Twitter’s Research Potential
- Get Creative!
- Improving Classroom Efficiency
1. Expand Learning Possibilities
Make Instant Connections
Monica Rankin (University of Texas-Dallas) has students tweet their questions during lectures for greater engagement.
Other teachers have used Twitter to poll students and display results in real time using SurveyMonkey or similar tools. Similarly, a very creative teacher discovered a way to introduce students to the basics of probability by asking a broad question and charting the answers he received through @ replies.
Collaborate Beyond The Classroom
Teachers and students from around the world can collaborate on projects using Twitter for communication. Students also learn different classroom and cultural protocols.
Or, partner up with local government or charitable organizations. Tweet about the latest cultural or educational events in the area and encourage others in the community to join in the discussion.
2. Build Writing Skills
Have students tweet a summary of what they have learned prior to the end of class, and share questions to be considered for the next class. Have students summarize supplementary materials, and engage in tweet discussions with other students.
Any media studies class can tweet microreviews of movies, books and music.
Stories and Poetry
Another way English teachers can stimulate their students with Twitter involves having them compile and edit coherent stories based on pre-existing tweets by other people.
Have students apply creative writing skills to create short stories via a series of tweets, written over time.
Creative writing or English students of all ages can participate as a group in making up a story character of their very own, with each individual contributing a tweet or 2 towards a personality or back story. Teachers can then ask them to write their own stories based on this collectively created literary figure
Post a daily word game challenge asking kids to unscramble anagrams, contribute synonyms or antonyms or give a definition for any vocabulary or spelling words.
3. Use Twitter’s Research Potential
Get Involved In The News
Have students poll fellow students or find and ask questions of experts on Twitter for use in assignments on trends, opinions and current events and research. Students can also subscribe to relevant #hashtags and accounts from all perspectives and compile an updated resource cobbling together as much research as possible.
Students can become politically active to learn politics or government by following government organizations that have Twitter accounts, and retweeting relevant events, news stories, blog posts and other media revolving around a chosen theme.
Explore The Power Of Twitter
Narrow the old, reliable internet scavenger hunt to cover only Twitter, varying the degree of difficulty depending on the age range of the students. Much older kids may appreciate the added challenge of deciphering riddles that pull from their lessons.
Teach students to research ideas, opinions and movements as they happen by searching Twitter using keywords.
Prepare For A Career
Older high school students who need to explore their career options before spiriting away to college benefit from real-world tweet discussions with professionals in paths they’re considering. Twitter helps them connect with primary sources and facilitates educational communication.
Teachers can set up an interesting assignment requesting that students set up Twitter lists following accounts relevant to their career goals and keep a daily journal on any trends that crop up along the way.
4. Get Creative!
Role Play or Live Tweet
Keep history lessons engaging for children by asking them to tweet ideas and quotes from their favorite historical figures. Alternately, they can also pretend to be famous fictional characters.
Sick kids or paranoid parents may like the idea of following along with class field trips on Twitter, and teachers with smartphones can keep them engaged with pictures and descriptions of the lessons learned.
Have students live tweet their reactions books as they read, and to assigned movies. It teaches how perceptions change over time as more information and perspectives become available.
New Kinds Of Art Projects
Kids studying art and the humanities can curate their own art shows based around creators, movements, regions, time periods or thematic elements that they enjoy, using Twitter as a way to show the world what they think belongs in a specific exhibit.
Art teachers curious about how Twitter can benefit their classes may like the idea of asking students to design their own creative backgrounds for friends and family – either digitally or using traditional media scanned into a computer.
5. Improve Classroom Efficiency
Classrooms with enough resources can allow students to tweet their own notes during lessons and share with their peers – perhaps even printing them out for home use if they do not have internet access.
To keep everyone up-to-date, teachers can set up a Twitter account dedicated exclusively to due dates, tests or quizzes, and also post syllabus, and post supplementary materials.
Educators who require students to keep their own blogs may want to follow updates using Twitter rather than having to click through bookmarks for each one
Get Parents Involved
- Encourage parental engagement by asking them to voice their opinions on where to go and where to avoid when it comes to planning field trips.
- Parents of K-12 students interested in daily classroom activities can follow teacher tweets discussing some of the lessons learned and any progress on projects with one quick and handy trip to a dedicated Twitter feed
- Use Twitter to discuss films and documentaries or books to check out at home – preferably as a family. Doing so especially benefits younger students, as they typically perform better in high school and college if their parents are involved in their lives and educations
- Because e-mail filtering frequently ships important messages off to the trash can, some educators may prefer talking privately with kids and their parents via the direct message feature on Twitter instead
6. Bonus! Beyond The Classroom—Infographic: How Scholars Are Using Twitter