Tech & Education: How can Twitter make me a better teacher?

Class Projects, New Technology | No Comments »

Twitter Home PageThere’s no doubt you’ve heard about Twitter… The President uses it. So does Ashton Kutcher. Oprah even dedicated an entire show to it. But do you really know what it is? Do you really know all that it can do?

To those that have never used the service, Twitter is a collection of meaningless personal posts that chronicle the activities of everyday people as they “eat french fries at McDonald’s” or “head to the salon for a haircut”. To those that have used it a little, Twitter is a interesting way to “follow” friends or interesting celebrities and find out what they’re doing in a 140 characters or less. To those that use it a lot, Twitter is the fastest source for the latest news (even faster than CNN), the best way to find hot deals at stores and restaurants, the most reliable recommendation engine for goods and services, and more.

But what about education?… How can Twitter make me a better teacher?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sounding Board: Use Twitter as a forum to discuss and share ideas with your colleagues about what worked and didn’t work in your classroom. Learn from them and they can learn from you. Check out this list of top educational twitter feeds for you to follow.
  • Current Events: A few years ago, printed publications became virtually obsolete. By the time the newspaper was delivered, the news had already been reported by tons of other sources online. Now, even those quick-moving online sources are being preempted by Twitter. After all, it has to be a lot faster to type a 140 character headline than write an entire article doesn’t it? Catch up on the hottest trends and stay current on the latest topics from politics to sports to celebrity news by watching the latest “Trends” (Twitter’s real-time list of the most popular topics).
  • Writing Projects: Use the Twitter’s constraints as a creative project for an English class. Much like the Haiku is limited to 3 lines in a 5-7-5 syllable format, Twitter is limited to a 140 characters. Have students write a poem using the character limit as their only guideline or even a TwiHaiku… or have them write a collaborative story, tweet by tweet (sentence by sentence)… or think of your own creative way to use the service. The possibilities are endless.
  • Role-Players: Add a new dimension to your research projects by having your students “tweet” as if they were… Abraham Lincoln (history), a native Argentinian (geography), a honey bee (science), etc.

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