As educators, we are preparing students to succeed in the real world.  That’s why it’s imperative for students to be taught not only the ‘fun’ parts of social media, but how to be responsible.  Prior to integrating social media in the classroom, it’s crucial to understand both its power and limitations. In two previous blogs we discussed the advantages for using Twitter to create a strong network and how to leverage your PLN with hashtags. Once educators understand the power of Twitter for their own professional needs, the next step is to think about how it could be best utilized in the classroom. The following video (created by the University of Minnesota) showcases students from Roosevelt High School who are being engaged via social media.

This is just one example for how social media can be used to increase student interest and keep parents informed. Twitter is not only a viable option for those teaching older students, but primary as well. Below you will find some of our favorites ideas for how to use Twitter in the K-12 classroom and model the responsible usage of social media:

  1. Announcements. Post information regarding upcoming projects, deadlines, and activities to stay engaged while on break from school.
  2. Research. There is a wealth of experts on Twitter who are eager to share their knowledge. MLA now outlines how to properly cite a Tweet.
  3. Host a Book Study Twitter Chat. Create a hashtag chat for students to discuss a novel they’re reading.  Use open-ended questions regarding the author, plot, characters, etc. to encourage students to respond.
  4. Start a monthly/quarterly Twitter Chat with parents. Encourage your parent/teacher organizations to co-host twitter chats about issues of interest to them (bullying, relevance/amount of homework, grading procedures, etc.)
  5. Debate.  Encourage students to defend their position and use appropriate responses for their classmates’ arguments.
  6. Vocabulary.  Encourage students to tweet a sentence using their vocabulary words.
  7. Alphabet Study.  Have families take pictures of objects from their environment that start with the letter of the day.  Have them post on Twitter and include your class hashtag.
  8. Teach Effective Searching Techniques.  Post a daily question on Twitter that requires students to search online for the answer(s) using effective searching techniques.
  9. Use Backchannels.  Encourage students to post comments, questions or ask for clarification during classroom instruction and presentations.
  10. Promote Class Blog. Create a class blog that showcases the work of students.  If students are older have them create individual blogs.  Then encourage others on Twitter to leave comments for students.
  11. Encourage Learning.  Keep curious students stimulated by pointing them to additional research and learning opportunities.

 When integrating Twitter into the classroom, you may also want to try out these tips:

  1. Create multiple accounts.  If you are going to mix business with pleasure (i.e. following celebrities) it may be wise to create a separate account for your class conversations.  If you teach multiple classes, you may want to create an account for each class.
  2. Stay Organized.  Create a classroom hashtag to keep posts organized.

For additional ideas for how others are using Twitter in the classroom, we recommend reviewing these additional resources:

  1. Turning Tweets into Narrative Tales
  2. Tweet, Tweet, Go the Kindergartners
  3. Twitter goes to college
  4. “I am twittering and blogging!”
  5. Twitter spectrum
  6. 100 Ways To Use Twitter In Education, By Degree Of Difficulty
  7. 36 Interesting Ways to us Twitter in the Classroom

Powerful Learning Practice hopes you have enjoyed this Twitter Blog Series and will join us on Sunday, April 29th at 7 pm Eastern for a Twitter chat.  We’ll be discussing who rocks your world (pedagogically) and will use the #plpnetwork hashtag.  To learn more about this event click here.

Do you have another way to use Twitter in the classroom?  Please leave a comment below, so we can all learn from one another. Want to see another Twitter topic discussed, just let us know!  Don’t forget we’re always eager to learn and share ideas with you on Twitter: @plpnetwork

About the author
Christen Dodd is Director of eLearning for Powerful Learning Practice. After earning her MEd. in Curriculum and Instructionat the University of Virginia, she began her career as a K-5 Computer Resource Teacher. She enjoyed collaborating with staff and creating technology lessons that engaged students, but caught “the bug” for presenting to educators on a national level. Read more about Christen