Until I started working with Twitter, I had only been aware of the pointless, vapid side of the social media network: updates about every celebrity faux pas, pointless inside jokes, jokes that aren’t funny, or 140-character feuds that are funny.
With the growing push to include technology into instruction, however, I decided to give the bird a second chance to see if it could enhance my students’ experience in my classes. According to the NEA, “Teachers say tweeting a few quick review questions and some good Web sites add depth to their lessons. In turn, students can tweet their own questions and observations.” It makes sense, after all, to utilize something that is already an integral part of students’ lives. Kathy Cook, Dean of educational technology at University of Phoenix College of Education said, “For teachers to stay current, keep students engaged and promote learning, it is important for teachers to acknowledge the influence of social media and understand how to use it to the benefit of their students.” I have been more than impressed by the reception my students have given to turning their social media into an educational tool.
While it has not been a pursuit without quite a bit of work involved, I have found plenty of help online. One excellent resource to help guide educators in utilizing Twitter in their instruction is provided by KQED Education services. Here teachers can find guides to help them make the best possible use of Twitter; it includes online safety basics, help with teaching digital citizenship, and example assignments curated from around the web. Best of all, my hard work has not been without plenty of rewards in terms of my students’ learning. If you’re still skeptical about the value of Twitter as an educational tool, check out this screenshot of an exchange I had with a student about our current vocabulary study.
So for a brand new Tweeter, I’m pretty happy! I hope to get some more sophisticated Tweeting going eventually, but I’m just a hatchling right now, and I’m pretty busy for a baby birdie! I have tons of ideas for Socrates here, but no time to write these days, but it is invigorating to be working on so many new things for my classroom.
I’m also pleased with how my students are responding to the classroom blog over at Logophiles Unleashed. If you’re interested, hop over there and see what books some ninth grade students are reading and recommending! I think you will be impressed with their work!