Twitter is possibly the most versatile social media network and since its rise to prominence less than a decade ago, it’s been used for any number of different things.
Using Twitter smartly and well can result in it truly being a fantastic tool for learning and other areas too. This is why it’s being used in the educational sphere by teachers and tutors increasingly. Amazing considering its 140 character limitation. So, let’s evaluate some of the ways educators are using Twitter for learning and the reasons why you should too.
Why Educators Should Use Twitter?
- It allows teachers and students to connect personally
- Interaction can be outside the classroom
- It’s easy to differentiate learning for individuals
- It provides the chance to link to other communities
- It’s brief, to the point and so works well in an age where attention spans are often short
Some Innovative ways to Use Twitter for Learning
There are numerous ways that educators can use Twitter for learning and getting more from their lessons and here are a few.
The humble hashtag can be put to amazing use in the classroom. Simply create specific hashtags around lessons and all members of the class will be able to find and also add to the message thread. This allows students to participate, interact and broaden the educational discussion.
Of course, you can also help students enhance their own leaning by offering them hashtags to really great resources such as #TED or #Geography – plenty of interesting stuff there too.
Twihaiku and Language Learning
There are also numerous different sorts of language related games and learning on Twitter. Hashtags can be used to exchange micro reviews, create Twitter fiction or to even cite Tweets in academic papers as you can see here. Twihaiku’s are also a common part of the Twitter landscape.
Twitter can also be used as a message board quite easily, informing students to different news and information. Whether it’s a reminder for a test or a cancelled class or tutoring session, Twitter can be very useful in this regard. A specified Twitter can be used to capture all the news, views and events in a school or on a course, class or campus – something that can make organisation a lot easier.
Great for Shy Students
The fact that Tweets are short in their length and also don’t involve some of the aspects of traditional communication means children that don’t participate often may do so. Twitter walls are a common visualisation software used at events, however they can be used in the classroom and for tutoring too according to UK 11+tutor James Goldsmith, who use them regularly for different sorts of prep. The web app simply projects a discussion based around a hashtag onto a screen, showing all the different participants in the conversation. These Twitter walls tend to encourage and entice even the quieter students to join in and can really encourage interaction from quieter students – something.
There are a number of great apps out there that allow you to curate and create content around specific subjects. Paper.li and Storify can be used to this effect and are ideal for starting a class or subject based newspaper. These social feeds compile a variety of social media activity to create a real time online newspaper. Needless to say there are numerous obvious benefits of such a newspaper creation tool in the classroom.
Finally, it’s quite easy to use Twitter for recaps. Educators can use the tool to make it a go to place for after class or lesson discussions. Used in tandem with rewards for students that participate, Twitter can be a great place to engage students, recap lessons and even encourage them to take part in mini Twitter quizzes that keep them interested in the specific area of study.
Twitter is an amazing tool and one that is extremely versatile inside and outside of an education or training setting. These tips and ideas should help you get more from it in and out of the classroom.