Have you noticed students sitting in desks with their mouths agape and a glaze coating their eyes as they watch you instruct a carefully planned lesson? Can you hear crickets chirping during instruction time?
Maybe it’s time to up your ante in the teaching game and add a technology dimension to your lessons.
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We live in a world bombarded and entertained by media, making it hard to light passion in your classroom when armed only with marker boards and projectors. As teachers, you want to instill a love of lifelong learning in your students, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult.
Engaging students with media is one solution teachers are using to increase classroom participation. Many educators have incorporated classroom blogs, websites, and Facebook pages. One popular social media site missing from the list is Twitter.
Adding Twitter to your arsenal of classroom tricks can enthrall students and engage their minds. A lot of people question how 140 character posts can benefit education. Actually, Twitter is great for summarizing thoughts and driving home main ideas. Shockingly, Twitter can be used to learn more than what Perez Hilton thinks of Taylor Swift’s music video. Listed below are suggestions on ways you can harness this resource and tweet to teach.
Tweet reminders and update assignments. Twitter can keep everyone in the loop and work on track. A simple reminder may save the hassle of grading late papers or tracking down forgotten permission slips.
Coordinate assignments and group activities in one place. Allow students to use Twitter to organize work and communicate with assigned groups in one place. This empowers the students and allows them to use social media in a controlled environment where everyone is included.
Promote parental and school involvement. Tweets from the classroom let parents know what you are learning. This encourages a relationship that extends beyond the twice a year parent conferences.
During lectures, use tweets to pool students questions. Avoid interruptions and let your students’ voices be heard simultaneously with Twitter. During instruction, allow them to Tweet questions. You will see questions pooling on your computer screen and be able to address them as you go - without getting off topic!
Twitter can raise awareness of social media’s impact by tracking hashtags. Your class can keep on top of news stories or events by sorting hashtags. Remember when we had to cut newspaper clippings? Twitter is efficient and keeps students updated on real world events.
Have students research future careers and receive tweets about chosen areas of interest. Allow students to set goals and figure out a plan of action. They will be able to see updates and learn new information from professionals and organizations in their area of study.
Have an ongoing classroom story. This is a game that encourages creativity and participation from the entire class. Students take turns sharing a sentence using Twitter to write a class story or poem. The possibilities are endless with this activity.
Communicate around the world with peers. Use Twitter to connect with classrooms on the other side of the world. This could be a modern day “penpal” activity or fun way to explore cultures.
Get real time updates from professional networks. Twitter is a great way for you to stay on top of professional development opportunities. You will garner new ideas, fresh concepts, and resources to use in the classroom.
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Some teachers are leary of social media and it does need to be approached with caution. Avoid using personal accounts to interact with students or parents. Protect yourself and your students by creating a professional or classroom Twitter account. This would be a great segway to introduce proper online behaviors.
Twitter use in the classroom could be a technique to promote lifelong learning in your students. They will be able to interact with the materials, each other, and see the impact knowledge has on the world around them. Hopefully, you have banished the crickets and replaced the silence with thoughtful student tweets.
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