Description: Twitter is a popular social networking tool but educators are finding creative ways to incorporate it into the learning environment, too!
Twitter is, by far, one of the most popular social networking sites on the web. Individuals, businesses, non-profits, and even celebrities are clamoring to the site to leave their 140-character-or-less nuggets of wisdom for the rest of the world on a daily basis. The concept of micro-blogging was at one time thought to be useless to the educational field, but teachers at all levels are proving the world wrong. Here are some of the things they're doing to incorporate Twitter into the classroom setting.
|Seven ways to use Twitter in your Class for engaging with your friends|
Using Twitter in the Classroom
- Classroom Events and Announcements:
The simplest thing you can do is set up a Twitter account specifically for sharing information about things happening in your classroom. You can use this account to talk about project due dates, upcoming tests and quizzes, and even classroom parties or special events. Older students may be encouraged to use Twitter to find reminders but this type of tool, in an elementary setting, is more for the parents than for the students themselves.
- Promoting Ongoing Discussion After Hours
If you have high school or college students in your classroom, dedicated Twitter feeds are great for allowing them to continue conversations about class subjects outside of the classroom. A dedicated classroom account will allow them to ask questions about readings, assignments, or special projects. You as a teacher will be able to monitor the discussions, encourage other students to participate, and jump in with the proper responses when needed. Since many colleges use only systems for turning in work for both online and offline classes, your students can also use Twitter to notify you when something has been turned in. You can make the use of Twitter optional or, in the case of writing or communication classes, make the updates mandatory.
- Career Field Tracking
Younger students exploring different career fields may find it interesting to study what those in their intended fields are doing on a daily basis. Teach your students how to set up a Twitter list and then help them to fill their lists with feeds that pertain to the career they've chosen to study. This is a great way to teach students to keep up with current events. Have the children write journal entries about the new information they find on a regular basis.
- Creative Writing Exercises
Have a little fun with Twitter by creating a fiction writing project for your classroom. Allow each student to contribute a line of a story or poem, one after the other, based on what the person before contributed. Depending on the size of your classroom, this could be a one-time project or something you carry throughout the month or year. Setup a hashtag for your story or project so that the kids can learn about using them as well and then have them encourage their friends and family members to follow along and comment.
- Blogging and Social Media
Some teachers ask students to keep journals throughout the school year. Have each student set up a free blog and then send a Tweet when that blog is updated. Students can also use Twitter summary card to display more summary for blog post information. You'll not only be teaching the kids to effectively use Twitter, but you'll be encouraging them to create longer pieces based on your class subject or agenda as well. As a teacher, you'll find it easier to require a Tweet that a post is up than you would find it it to bookmark and check every student's blog.
Auto Update Facebook to Twitter
Auto send Tweets to Facebook
- Field Trip Updates
Do you have students who can't make it out to field trips due to conflicts or illnesses? If so, make sure you (as the teacher) take plenty of field trip pictures and post them to your Twitter feed so that those who are missing the trip can keep up. Make sure you check on the legalities before you do this, though. Posting images of the sights you are seeing is acceptable. Posting images of children without permission is not, regardless of elementary or high school age groupings.
- Create Scavenger Hunts
Every kid enjoys a good scavenger hunt. Depending on the age group you are working with, use Twitter to create clues that will take the kids on a hunt related to their most recent lessons. If you're just teaching them to use Twitter, for example, stick to clues that will force them to use Twitter more. If they're older, use clues that will take them to various websites, hashtags, and other users on the site. Have fun with it!
About the Author: Marvis Barch loves using social media for business and education alike. He enjoys teaching small business owners and teachers different ways to use social media to meet their unique needs.
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