Reasons for social media in class (Twitter)
- Increase student participation
- Increased student voice
- Building greater and more teacher/ student connections.
- Increased student collaboration
- Connecting students with professionals
- Opportunity for teaching digital responsibility and citizenship.
- Build a positive digital footprint
Points 1 and 2. -Increase student participation, Increased student voice
Inside every class there are students who do not like to talk in front of other students. The student might be shy, embarrassed of how they sound, or an English learner.
Social media gives these students a voice. Running a backchannel (side conversation) on the projector, where everyone can see gives students a way to share ideas in class without speaking or raising their hand. These student are posting their own ideas about the topic and answering the questions of other students through the backchannel. Twitter not only helps “shy” students becoming active participants, they are also demonstrating content mastery. Here is an interview with the news http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkwDHcGscnM
Point 3 -Building greater and more teacher/student connections.
The squeaky wheel gets the oil. The louder students in the classroom are ones that get most of the attention. As a result, students who are less monopolizing receive less attention. A great solution to this problem is social media
I have had conversations with students via social media outside of class time. This has helped me build a relationship with them. I have been able to better understand their home life, personal struggles, and personality. As a result of the social media interactions with students, I am better able to meet their needs in the classroom.
Point 4 -Increased student collaboration
No longer do students need to be in the same classroom to work together on a project. Students can share information with students in other classrooms across the school, district, state, and even the world. In the past we have done class to class twitter chats with students in Lahore Pakistan, Indiana, and Kansas. These experiences help to open the minds of students to the different cultures and perspectives in the world around them. Twitter gives teachers a chance to expand the walls of their classroom.
Point 5 -Connecting students with professionals
The number one item for student learning/engagement is topic and content relevance. A great way to help students see relevance of a science topic is to connect students with scientists. Social media is an inexpensive and simple way to accomplish that connection.
Last year my students and I had online twitter discussions with scientists each month. Because twitter is blocked at school I held the discussions in the evening. The evening session prevented many students from participating because of work schedules, athletic events, and family responsibilities. However, students who did participate learned and made real connections. Here is an archive of our conversations with scientists www.sg.sg/scistuchat1
Unblocking twitter at school would allow us to hold some of the science discussions during class time. Unblocking twitter would also give other teachers an opportunity to connect students with professionals in their subject area.
- Engineers on twitter – http://toponlineengineeringdegree.com/?page_id=111
- Writers on twitter https://www.odesk.com/blog/2009/04/25-writers-you-should-be-following-on-twitter/
- Legal professionals on twitter. http://scoop.jdsupra.com/2008/09/articles/law-firm-marketing/145-lawyers-and-legal-professionals-to-follow-on-twitter/
- Scientists on twitter www.sciencepond.com
- Doctors on twitter http://www.twitterdoctors.net/
- Nurses on twitter http://wefollow.com/twitter/nurse
- There are lots more as well.
Point 6. -Opportunity for teaching digital responsibility and citizenship.
Using Twitter in class is a great way to begin discussions about digital responsibility and citizenship. Many students see the Internet as their personal journal. They do not understand when something is posted online it is posted to the World Wide Web. While using twitter with students it is important to take time on a weekly basis and help students understand online etiquette and responsibility. As teachers, this is an opportunity and a responsibility. There are many great methods and tools for teaching digital citizenship, the point is to do something every week. http://www.diigo.com/user/twofootgiraffe/%22digital%20citizenship%22
Point 7. -Build a positive digital footprint
When students use twitter for learning and sharing it helps to create a positive digital footprint. For instance if you do a google search for my twitter ID @2footgiraffe, you will find several pages of information. Most of the information will consist of conversations I have had with educators, scientists, politicians, and students. This is part of my digital footprint. For many students their digital footprint only consists of Facebook posts. At best those Facebook posts are neutral, sometimes the posts can be negative, harmful, and mean. These types of posts build a negative digital footprint.
Using twitter in class can help build a positive digital footprint. When potential employers or colleges search for the students twitter name, they will find the conversations with scientist, collaboration with other students, in-class sharing, class discussions.
Further investigation resource items
I had a twitter discussion with teachers on 7-6-12. We talked about how they use twitter in class. Here are some of their ideas.
@jdferries: we use it to run our debate team schedules, for helpdesk, and general socializing 🙂 #edchat
@TeachPleau: I use it. Twitter chats via Twitter, etc.
@shfarnsworth:I use Twitter with my students in many ways – classroom, cross-district, cross-country, and even global!
@TeachPleau: @2footgiraffe interviews/discussions with experts in the field….
@jdferries: @2footgiraffe as CIO, i think mass-txt is not worth it for tweet-generation. iOS, BBM, all offered alternatives. Twitter is the ult.opt-in
@Fernandezc4: @2footgiraffe teaching Econ or Government. I teach online. Part of there assignments may be to find tweets related to a particular topic.
@Fernandezc4: @2footgiraffe I will ask them to follow a hashtag that I create – I will find articles or tweets that relate to theme or topic in class
@ChrisMazura: .@2footgiraffe My HS Journalism tweets; & I advise the school newspaper, which has an official Twitter acct #edchat #edtech
@ChrisMazura: @2footgiraffe Students writing for real audience; practice discernment; accountability; receive instant feedback; find voice in process.
@ChrisMazura: @2footgiraffe “Dangerous,” in that communication is real. Great teaching opportunity for #digitalcitizenship
@MicheleHarris3: @2footgiraffe For one….my health students did research on body systems + used in @flipsnack project….
@MicheleHarris3: @2footgiraffe Also, chemistry Ss researched elements…..also use as review for quizzes……then they have review to study from
@evans306: @2footgiraffe I use twiducate with middle years kids
@ChrisKauter: @2footgiraffe Useful for ce articles, assignments, Google calendar automatically tweets via @twitterfeed. Keeps everyone informed #edchat
@fogarty22: 1/2 @2footgiraffe One example of use: we held debates across two classes and broadcast them to the school on ustream. Students tweeted
@fogarty22: @2footgiraffe 2/2 about winners and losers, opinions, and we had two students live tweet for those watching elsewhere. We used #xhsdebates
@fogarty22: @2footgiraffe @mrbroominator I teach Film+English, but main role is tech integration coordination. We only block objectionable sites #edchat
@MicheleHarris3: @2footgiraffe @evans306 Tweeting as a character is a great idea! I may have mine tweet as a scientist…….