Social media has influenced everything that people do. From Instagraming pictures of meals, to Facebook liking posts, retweeting, and hashtags—it can get overwhelming fast. As an educator, it might be easy to brush off these “new fangled” activities and hope that students understand what you are trying to teach them.
Instead of waging a war against students, why not join them in their quest towards education by using the resources that they’ve grown accustomed to to create an environment where learning is sought after and the sharing of knowledge is instantaneous. If this idea sounds like something you could utilize in the classroom, Twitter is a good starting point to help your students feel connected with their learning.
Not sure on where to start in the world of Twitter? Take a look at the Ultimate Twitter Guide for Educators.
Ready to move forward? Here are 30 of the Best Ways for Educators to Use Twitter.
Communication is the Word
One of the most vital things to happen in a classroom is communication. Teachers often can’t tell that a class is struggling, especially when a class stays quiet, until test day comes. Not sure that Twitter actually works? Many studies show that is actually does help. Twitter can help educators close the gap and boost student participation. Students will think their teachers are cool and will want to tweet them.
Ways teachers can communicate with their students
- Twitter Bulletin Board. A teacher at Northern Illinois University uses Twitter as a bulletin board for his classes, he lets his students know about changes on homework and even news like cancelled or relocated classes.
- Office Hours. A Berkley professor uses Twitter for his “office hours”. Students can ask any type of questions, and many students prefer this way of contact.
- Organization. Always use hashtags in your conversations so you can keep all you students up to date on what is going in class.
- Pop Quizzes. To see if your students really follow you on Twitter, put a quiz on Twitter. You can make it extra credit points, and all of your students will always want to follow you.
- 28 ways to use Twitter in the Class. Instead of leaving your teaching in the classroom, take it on level further, make sure that you tweet articles that have to do with your class, and get your students engaged.
- Quiet the Blabbers. Encourage students that like to talk to hop on Twitter and get engaged with your feed.
- Feedback, Instantly. Instead of writing feed back on student’s assignments, think about tweeting it–especially if it’s something the whole class struggled with.
- Take Attendance. For students that get to class late, or show up at all, remind them over Twitter to not forget class!
- Water cooler Talk. Follow (and Tweet) with educators in your school. Make it easy to contact each other by hashtags and mentions.
- Take Notes for the Classroom. By using hashtags, make sure that you organize quotes and notes for each of your classes. Your students will thank you.
- Assignments Completed. Have your students tell you if they’ve done their homework so you can keep track of it on Twitter.
- Coordinating Assignments. Help students coordinate assignments by encouraging them to use hashtags.
- Engagement in Big Classes. In a bigger class, it can be hard for students to participate, ask students to tweet questions and insights.
- Communication with Parents. Communicate with parents that have questions about their student.
- Connect with Other Educators. Finally, you want to stay connected with other educators in your field and subject. Do this by following the most influential educators on Twitter.
Best Online College’s List of Top 10 Educators to Follow:
- Shelly S Terrel
- Steve Wheeler
- Richard Byrne
- Tom Whitby
- Larry Ferlazzo
- Eric Sheninger
- We Are Teachers
- Kyle Pace
- Steven W. Anderson
- Recap Your Learning. At the end of your day, ask your students to summarize what happened in class. Students will be grateful that you did this come test time.
- Connect Around the World. Learning about global politics? Connect with students from around the world to make your learning more applicable to what is going on.
Finding Resources for Teaching
Use Twitter to help you find resources to make your lectures even more engaging and helpful to your students.
- Ask. Ask other teachers on Twitter for help finding lessons, books, teaching tool, and pretty much anything you might need!
- Get Real Data. Get your classroom to ask Twitter for data on things like opinions, locations, temperatures, and even facts.
- Get Help from Local Organizations. Have a local museum close to the school? Tweet them to organize a field trip.
- Ask the Experts. Find leaders such as scientists, authors, or historians on Twitter and ask them for tips to teaching.
- Follow Government. If your classroom is studying local/national government, follow prominent leaders in the field to see what they are tweeting.
- Sources. Ask students to evaluate sources they find and evaluate them on Twitter. They can get feedback from other people to see if their findings are valid.
- Build a Brand. Have your students start to build a brand for themselves, this will help them in future job searches and even for college.
- Follow and Talk to Career Experts. Have students follow those they admire. They can use Twitter to ask questions and find out more about that person.
Twitter is a great way for students to build their writing and reading skills.
- Build Vocabulary. Have students tweet sentences using a particular word to build vocabulary skills.
- Word Games. Give definitions, ask for synonyms, and offer rewards for the best answers!
- Review Grammar. Have your students tweet grammar rules so they will remember them for the tests (and life!)
- Improve Punctuation and Writing. Have your students be accountable for their punctuation as well!
- Concise. It can teach concise writing skills (you can only have up to 190 characters) on Twitter.