Social media offers some great opportunities for learning in the classroom, bringing together the ability to collaborate, access worldwide resources, and find new and interesting ways to communicate in one easily accessible place. Teachers around the world have found innovative ways to use Twitter as a teaching tool (including TeachThought’s favorite), and we’ve shared many of these great ideas here with you. Read on, and we’ll explore 60 inspiring ways that teachers and students can put Twitter to work in the classroom.
Twitter makes staying in touch and sharing announcements super simple and even fun. These ideas offer a great way to put the tool to good use.
- Twitter as a bulletin board: Jim Newman at Northern Illinois University uses Twitter as a bulletin board for his class, letting students know about last minute news like canceled classes.
- Ambient office hours: With Twitter, Howard Rheingold at Berkeley uses Twitter for group contact, which he calls “student-to-teacher-to-student ambient office hours.”
- Keep students in the loop: Using hashtags on Twitter, students who were not able to make it to class can follow along and stay on top of the conversation.
- Assignment coordination: Instead of emailing each other or waiting to meet in class, students can collaborate on projects and keep track of changes by using a Twitter hashtag.
- Silencing blurters: For students who have trouble with disruptive blurting, allow them to instantly tweet their blurts silently instead of out loud.
- Student engagement in large lectures: In large lecture classes where student participation can be intimidating and logistically problematic, Twitter can make it easy for students to engage and discuss during class time.
- Parent communication: Parents can sign up to receive tweets from teachers, learning about activities, tests, projects, and more.
- Instant feedback: Twitter makes it easy to get instant approval and disapproval of discussions, issues, and more right in the classroom.
- Attendance reminders: For students who have trouble making it to class on time, send reminders before school to get them in the door earlier.
- Digital faculty lounge: At Kent State University, college of education teacher William Kist uses Twitter as a “digital faculty lounge” for networking with other professors.
- Stay on top of the learning process: Ask students to tweet and reply about what they’re learning, difficulties they’ve faced, tips, resources, and more as an online logbook.
- Classroom notepad: Using a Twitter hashtag, it’s easy to organize inspiration, reading, ideas, and more for the classroom to share.
- Completed assignments: Students can let teachers know when they’ve finished their work by alerting them on Twitter.
- Teaching bite-sized info: Share medical terminology, Shakespeare quotes, kindergarten activities, and more on Twitter.
- Twitter pop quiz: Send out quick quizzes on Twitter, and have them count for bonus points in the classroom.
Twitter’s hashtags and other tools share a great way to organize information for your classroom.
- Twitter recaps: At the end of the day, teachers can summarize what has been learned in the classroom, encouraging reflection and discussion between students.
- Classroom connections: Classrooms around the world can collaborate using Twitter as a communication tool.
- Collating classroom views: Students can share their opinions on issues or any open questions, and they can be organized using Twitter.
- Corraling comments in class: Monica Rankin at the University of Texas at Dallas uses weekly hashtags to organize comments, questions and feedback that students have used in class, while also projecting live tweets in class for discussion.
Use these ideas to take advantage of the vast resources that Twitter has to offer.
- Finding great resources: Teachers can ask for recommended books, teaching tools, and ideas for lessons, crowdsourcing resources for the classroom.
- Following historical figures: There are many Twitter accounts set up that share the lives and personalities of historical figures, and students can follow them for fun and learning.
- Building a brand: Long after school is over, a personal brand will live on for students. Using Twitter in the classroom to build a brand is a valuable exercise for students.
- Partner with local organizations: Discuss cultural and educational events in the area on Twitter.
- Talk to career experts: High school students exploring their career options can talk to professions in the paths they’re considering on Twitter.
- Conversations are a public study tool: Long after the conversation in class is over, students can look back on the lecture discussion to find important points when it’s time to take exams or write essays.
- Source evaluation: Students can share resources and discuss whether it’s a good or bad source of information, encouraging comments.
- Foreign language news stream: Students in a foreign language class can build their reading skills and stay on top of the news with a foreign language news stream.
- Gather real-world data: The classroom can ask Twitter for data from their network, like temperatures, opinions, locations, and interesting facts.
- Following the government: Often, local and national political figures have Twitter feeds, and students in the classroom can track their progress.
- Ask for help or advice: Using Twitter, teachers can find out if anyone has advice about teaching issues, like when certificates expire or how to handle classroom management.
- Communicating with experts: Find authors, scientists, or historians on Twitter and get connected; a great resource for the classroom.
These are just a few of the great opportunities that Twitter offers for building reading and writing skills.
- Vocabulary building: Students can tweet sentences using a particular word to build vocabulary learning.
- Twitter can improve writing and punctuation: As long as students are held accountable for their grammar, using Twitter offers a great opportunity for improving writing and punctuation.
- Daily word games: Ask students to unscramble anagrams, contribute synonyms, or give vocabulary definitions on Twitter.
- Grammar review: Students can tweet past tense, run on sentences, compound sentences, and more.
- An exercise in learning to be concise: At the College of the Holy Cross, assistant professor Daniel Klinghard uses Twitter to teach students to be concise, summarizing major political texts without going over Twitter-imposed character limits.
From scavenger hunts to Twitter stories, these exercises offer great ways to use Twitter as a teaching tool.
- Inspirational quotes of the day: Allow students to become more familiar with Twitter, and exercise reading and writing skills by having a student post an inspirational quote tweet each day, preferably relating to course content.
- Conversations can continue outside of class: When students participate in Twitter discussions in class, there’s a great opportunity for conversations to continue to develop even after the lecture is over.
- School trip tracking: Whether it’s a field trip or a long journey, students can log and track their progress on a school trip using Twitter.
- Bringing characters to life: At California State University-San Marcos, students in a literature course use Twitter to bring Twilight characters to life, choosing characters from the series to personify on Twitter.
- Class newspaper: The entire class can come together to create a newspaper, contributing to sections using hashtags.
- Conference following: Students can follow professionals and industry conferences to see what’s going on in that particular realm.
- Bonus assignments: Give students optional bonus work to do at home, assigned via Twitter.
- Meme tracking: Students can study communication and sociology through the tracking of ideas and ads that spread through Twitter.
- Reading assignment summaries: Students can build 140-character summaries based on reading assignments, forcing a focus on quality.
- Link sharing: With Twitter, students can share websites with class, making relevant link finding and sharing a classroom assignment.
- Trend mapping: Using Twittermap, students can track what people are talking about where.
- Researching locations: The class can send out a tweet, asking people to give them their location, and then research that particular location.
- Twitter puzzles: Tweet a puzzle each week, giving a prize to the first student who shares the correct answer.
- Language learning: Teachers can send foreign language students tweets in a different language, and have students continue the conversation in the same language.
- Twitter poetry: Create a collaborative poem where each student contributes one line.
- Twitter book club: Within the classroom, willing participants can engage in a Twitter book club for extra credit.
- Word tracking: Using Twitter, students can track a word, staying on top of any posts that contain a particular word, like a movie title or store name.
- A Twitter story: Students can take turns tweeting stories together, using a hashtag to keep it all together as each student takes a turn to tweet the next line.
- Sharing microreviews: Using Twitter, students can write a short review of movies, books, and music that they’ve enjoyed (or not).
- Twitter haiku: Using Twitter, students can share short poems to express how they feel about a subject.
- Twitter art show: Students can curate their own art shows, using Twitter to share what they think belongs in a particular exhibit.
- Collaborative event watching: Students can “watch” presidential debates, political speeches, and other important events together outside of class time, and then continue the discussion back at school.
- Current events: By Twitter stalking, students can stay on top of current events through users, such as @BarackObama during the presidential elections.
- Find foreign pen pals: Students can use Twitter to communicate with students in a different country, learning about their hobbies, home, school, and more.