If you have the chance to speak to someone that hasn’t experienced Twitter (maybe you are that person), the conversation will usually go as follows:
“You gotta get on Twitter”
“Twitter? Why would I want everyone to know that I’m going to the grocery store” OR “Twitter! Isn’t that Charlie Sheen’s site”
This is a typical response, and use for Twitter; however, Twitter can make the lives of teachers and students easier. The following are some ideas how:
Twitter for Teachers
1. Professional Development: Twitter gives teachers instant access to educators around the world. Teachers can gain insight into technology, his/her respective subject, strategies, and create relationships.
1.1. Collaborate with Colleagues: Maybe you have been on both sides of this scenario. A teacher goes to a workshop and is energized by the concepts that have been introduced. The teacher then returns to school, to their disbelief, that everyone is not so excited (perhaps since they didn’t have the training). Though Twitter will not give teachers the full experience of a workshop, teachers can share with their colleagues what they have learned and create a culture of shared experience and learning.
Twitter for Students:
2. Thoughtful Expression: It’s easy to tweet about anything happening in the world, but it is difficult to use 140 characters to capture the most important parts of assignments, projects, etc. Have students summarize or capture the importance of the lesson at the end of the period. This would give the teacher insight into what the students learned, in order to plan what needs to be done next (formative assessment).
3. Reliable Sources of Information: Twitter is yet another way that students can collaborate with one another. When researching, students can easily use incorrect information from questionable sites. Teachers could have students find resources and share them on Twitter, while other students review and decide whether the source is reliable or not.
4. Discussion Tool: This could be the most valuable use for Twitter. Teachers use Twitter as a means for learning more about their interests. Why not teach students to use it for the same reason? I know that students want to follow Justin Beiber and Charlie Sheen, and that’s fine but why not give them access to other interests. For example, if a student is interested in sports, show them how to follow sports writers and magazines. The same would apply to students interested in music (wait students are interested in music?), dance, agriculture, etc. By doing this, we would 1) promote literacy by engaging students in their interests and 2) it would create a community of learners, with students learning from each other’s interests.
5. Web Mapping: Twitter offers instant access to events happening around the world. Couple Twitter with a a web mapping application like mind42.com or bubble.us and students will be able to create a real-time history timeline. Example: Imagine having students on Twitter during the tsunami event in Japan. Students could check live tweets and create a timeline of events (organized from the tweets).
Twitter for the Community:
6. As a Notification Tool: With the ability to have instant access to information via cell phones and the Internet, parents and students both want notifications instantly. Though it might not reach everyone, more types of media available to the public, means a greater chance for communication.
7. Extra-Curricular Events: The school district could have a Twitter account that would give live updates of events: band concerts, fundraisers, sports, etc.