Twitter is not a fad waiting to go away. As a social media platform, the benefits for educators are endless and primarily unexplored. I have been researching and experimenting with a few in the classroom. Maybe they can inspire you to develop some great ways to take advantage of this tool. Inspired? Well, share your own ideas in the comment box as well!
1. Digital Ticket Out of the Door-During the last few minutes of class ask students to Tweet the one thing that they learned of the BEST test question that they would create based on the lesson for that day. Encourage students throughout the class and make it a prestigious privilege to do so. If you have access to a larger set of computers where Twitter is not blocked, ask everyone to do it. If not, have students pull out their cell phones or compose tweets together in response. This is a great way to get students to reflect on content and verbalize their thoughts.
2. Extra Credit Responses-Post a question that requires a short response (you only have 160 characters). This works best if multiple DIFFERENT answers can be used. I find that this is great when students have to provide examples of a concept. Listing the name of a song or writing the lyrical excerpts that contains a metaphor or uses personification is always a fun one when studying figurative language. Anything from lower level Bloom’s to the synthesis end works well with this type of response.
3. Reading Assignments– Post a link to an article that you want students to read. They can reply with a short response or just open it up instantly on their phones and dig right in.
4. Questions and Answers– Have students tweet questions that they have during an activity or lecture. Keep your twitter projected on the board and reply to the questions as they come up verbally or through Twitter for a real time response. For more privacy, use in a lab and keep Twitter up. Quieter students can ask a question in real time and get a real time response by messaging you or posting live on your wall.
5. Word Play– Post anagrams for students to unscramble, define, or provide synonyms for.
6.Collaborative Link Sharing-Students can tweet digital resources for projects, activities, or virtually anything that they are working on. This is a great tool for students to keep up with resources in a familiar, fun way that they already know how to navigate.
7. Absent Students-Use hashtags to communicate with students who are absent or missed information. They can simply search and pull what they need off of Twitter.
8. Trend Mapping– Students can use this to see what topics are popular. This is a great strategy when students need to select an essay topic or choose something fun that they want to use for a skill based project.
9. Knocking Down Walls-Long after school has ended and everyone has left the building, students can still carry on the dialogue or talk with you. This is a great way to expand school beyond the 8-3 brick and mortar framework.
10. Current Events-Remember when you used to have to cut out an article that you found in the paper to bring in for discussion? You searched through your parents’ magazine stash or local newspapers, hoping to find something that interested you? Students can do the same on Twitter sans sharp objects. Students can follow virtually anything they care about is in the Twitterverse. They can find important issues or current events through Twitter. This can translate into writing a response and sharing it through Facebook, Edmodo, retweet it or the Flintstone way of paper and pencil. Either way–you put students in charge of their information.