Sometimes Twitter gets a bad rap—and when you scan the news headlines or read about the latest mis-tweets and social media blunders committed by celebrities, politicians and everyday Jane and Joe’s like us, it’s not hard to understand why!
That said, we still believe that there are lots of good reasons for teachers to start using Twitter in the classroom. Our list could have been longer, but here’s how we use Twitter in the classroom.
To Keep a Steady Stream of Calendar Updates
Just picture all the times you go home, are washing the dishes, and think, “I sure hope they remember that Project X is due tomorrow...” Now you can send a Tweet in the same time it
takes to think the thought. Boom.
To Give Students Shout-Outs
Few things are as pleasing as receiving appreciation—especially when it comes from someone we respect. Appreciation has the power to energize us, rekindle our enthusiasm and restore commitment and confidence. Why not go public and give your students a shout-out on Twitter?
To Engage Students in Discussions
Make “Tweeting one discussion question and one discussion reply” a homework assignment; then use the following class day to discuss the questions and comments.
To Set Up a Foreign Language News Stream
If you teach a foreign language, Twitter can help your students hone their language skills. Simply follow users who speak the target language and challenge your students to use their translation skills!
To Connect to Real Life
Tweet news feeds, links to YouTube videos, or even your own pictures or thoughts regarding real life objects or events that are related to your current classroom lesson(s). Students love interactive learning. Your Tweets will keep them in the intellectual loop or introduce them to new and exciting concepts you might not have had time for in the classroom.
To Keep Parents Connected
Using Twitter in the Classroom can also be a 2-for-1. Parents can follow the Twitter stream and will feel connected and engaged. Plus, they are much more likely to be on your side when it comes to missing assignments or “forgotten” test days.
To Connect With and Learn From Other Educators
There are lots of educational leaders, scientists, writers, historians, and other key players out there with whom you have educational and thought-provoking things to say. No tweets about what they’re eating, how many miles they ran, how good their latte is, or in Kanye West’s case, how cool ninjas are.
To Teach Students the Art of Concision
Twitter only gives you 140 characters to work with. We think that’s a good thing—especially if you’re trying to teach students how to be less wordy and more concise.
To Teach Students About Their Digital Footprint
Celebrity mis-tweets are funny to read, but we believe that they can actually facilitate teachable moments, lessons about what we should and should not share with the public.
To Live Tweet Field Trips
Not every parent or student can make it to the class field trip. Bummer, right? That’s where Twitter comes in. When you “live tweet” your trip, parents and students can follow along by looking at your pictures and text descriptions.
Photo credit: shawncampbell / Foter / CC BY
Get some ideas on how you can use social media as a tool in your classroom by watching our FREE webinar, Social Media Strategies for Teachers, presented by award-winning teacher, blogger, and educational technologist, Richard Byrne.