Using Twitter in the Classroom

Why should we use Twitter in the classroom?

Using Twitter in the Classroom

The use of Twitter in the classroom has always been a controversial topic. While some teachers embrace the idea, others wrestle with it. Ultimately, the decision boils down to the question, “why should I use Twitter in the classroom?” Here are some reasons why:

Active Student Participation:

Twitter helps to remediate the usual factors that hinder active student participation during discussions. These are:

  • Time constraints: Being an open platform, Twitter allows students to respond to tweeted discussion questions at their convenience.
  • Preparation time: Twitter gives students the time to prepare and respond as opposed to responding instantly in the classroom.
  • In the spotlight: Some students may not be comfortable expressing themselves in front of others. For them, Twitter is safe and anonymous, allowing them to participate within the comfort of their personal spaces.

Improves Writing Skills:

With a word limit of 140 characters, it is not surprising that Twitter is rarely thought of as a writing tool. Twitter, however, can help to improve students’ writing skills through:

  • Concise tweets, which mean improved vocabulary, sentence structure and usage of correct grammar as students only have 140 characters to convey their ideas. This encourages students to communicate efficiently.
  • Writing 140 characters is less daunting than filling an entire page. While this can inspire students to write freely, they also need to be critical and refined in their thoughts and writing.
  • Students learn to write short headlines to capture the attention of their audience.

Interactive Strategy:

Twitter is fun and engaging for students to use in the classroom. It can liven up the classroom by serving as:

  • An instant feedback system. Students can tweet questions or ask for clarifications during the lecture. The tweets are visible on the smartscreen, and help teachers channel their teaching and answer questions instantly with minimal disruptions to the class. Students can also anonymously tweet feedback about the lecture.
  • Tweet exit slips: Paper exit slips can be replaced by Twitter. Students can tweet their responses to the questions.

Research and Share:

Twitter helps students to research and share topics with the class through use of hashtags. Hashtags can be used to create communities for specific topics or subjects and to facilitate collaboration and communication with members for group work.

Teaching Digital Skills:

Teachers can use Twitter to educate students on digital etiquette (or “netiquette”), about digital footprints, and about being tolerant of other opinions and perspectives.

Professional Development:

Teachers, too, can benefit from using Twitter as it can help with their professional development. Teachers can build communities, share resources and connect with other teachers from around the globe to gain knowledge and skills that can help them grow and develop their teaching practices.

Thus, Twitter helps both students and teachers to connect, collaborate, learn and develop their skills and practices.

 


Like this article for teachers?

Browse the Professional Learning Board COURSE CATALOG to find related online courses for teachers in your state. Professional Learning Board is a leading provider of online professional development classes that teachers use to renew a teaching license or renew a teaching certificate.

 

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