Twitter can Bring a Contemporary, Fun Social Element to Topic Exploration, Research, Projects, and Other Classroom Activities
Twitter, along with other social media platforms, is more often banned from class than included within it. But teachers are missing out on a useful and very current educational tool. Students love social media. Given a spare minute, they’ll all be checking their phones, posting and tweeting. As a teacher, harnessing that interest gives you great scope for boosting engagement in the classroom.
Of course, one needs to consider age restrictions and the practicality of using Twitter with the student you teach. This is probably best used in higher education or high school, and some students may object to having to create an account if they don't already have one.
With that caveat in mind, here are 10 projects you can use in the classroom to get your students tweeting and learning:
Share Project Resources
Using a hashtag unique to your school project, get students to tweet a resource recommendation as homework. If you’re discussing energy sources, it could be a news article they find on renewable energy or a government report on the impact of pollution on health. These resources can then be used by all classmates to develop their understanding of the given topic.
Find Out About The Life of Others
Along with your students, tweet an open question such as “What does water mean to you?” or “What is your biggest hope for the future?” to your Twitter following. The more varied your followers are, the more varied and interesting the responses are likely to be. Discuss the responses in class as a way to explore different opinions and perspectives.
Journalists on a Field Trip
Encourage your students to live tweet when you’re out on a field trip. Introduce the idea that they are journalists reporting their findings. You can then use the Twitter feed as a useful summary of your trip and a tool to help the students share and evaluate their experiences and discoveries.
Tweet Book Reviews
In self-guided reading exercises, ask your students to tweet their thoughts on the chapter they’ve just read. This makes for a really collaborative discussion of the book you’re all reading and also encourages students to clarify their thoughts into a succinct 140 characters.
Conduct A Survey
This is a great project for developing an understanding of statistics, or just an understanding of different perspectives on a similar issue. Get students to set up a Twitter poll, asking followers to give their opinion on a particular question. You can use the information gathered to create graphs, to talk about statistics and as a jumping off point to discuss the question further.
Get students involved in a collaborative creative writing challenge. Students could take it turns to write a tweet describing an invented character. They then have to write a story about that character.
Write a Poem
Another collaborative writing challenge, get students to contribute a line to a poem, following on from the previous tweet to create a cohesive whole.
Social Media Awareness
Ask your students to collectively write and share a tweet, stating that it’s a school experiment and they want to see how far around the world this tweet can reach. Once they’ve seen that they do, indeed, have a world audience on social media, use this as an opportunity to discuss social media pros, cons and privacy dangers.
Find A Scientist
Many high profile Tweeters, scientists included, are willing to engage with school kids. Get your students to come up with questions they want to ask the scientist you choose and wait for the Twitter responses.
Ask your students to post a link to a work of art they find inspiring and tweet about what they find so interesting about it. You can then ask your class to view the tweets, find another student’s inspiration they like and create a work of art based upon it.
Twitter can certainly play a useful role within the classroom. Brush up on your own Twitter skills before introducing these great tweeting project ideas to your students.