Teaching in the 21st Century

Traci GardnerTraci Gardner, known as "tengrrl" on most networks, writes lesson plans, classroom resources, and professional development materials for English language arts and college composition teachers. She is the author of Designing Writing Assignments, a contributing editor to the NCTE INBOX Blog, and the editor of Engaging Media-Savvy Students Topical Resource Kit.

Twitter Resources for the Classroom

posted: 5.18.09 by Traci Gardner

Now that you’ve learned to use Twitter to communicate with friends and colleagues, it’s time to think about how to use it in the classroom. Lots of people are already using social networking for educational purposes, but you may still be asking why Twitter is a good tool for the writing classroom.

Fortunately, lots of folks are answering that question. The Tech & Learning article “Nine Reasons to Twitter in Schools” explains that the tool can help with everything from teaching communication to encouraging self-reflection. Point students (and colleagues) to “How Twitter Makes You A Better Writer,” which outlines the benefits in a quick and clear way.

Once you’re sure why you should use Twitter, you need to figure out how to use it to meet your pedagogical goals. To help you get started, I’ve gathered a bunch of great resources below. Some are general tips, and others are very specific activities that you can try. So go. Read. Get inspired.

  1. Tap the strategy in the Chronicle article “Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class — via Twitter” to invite students to tweet during class presentations, creating their own class archive and extending the discussion with back-channel conversation.
  2. Where for art thou Twitter?” asks students to take on the persona of a character from a work of literature and exchange tweets based on what they’ve read so far. Add requirements such as including details about the setting or key imagery as appropriate.
  3. Try the idea in “Twitter Book Reports?” for fun, quick reviews of books, but don’t stop there. Extend the technique to reviews of films, music, events, and more.
  4. Famous Last Tweets” includes some material that I wouldn’t use in the classroom, but the idea can still be a winner. Visit the site and read the first few fictional epitaphs. Students can write similar “famous last tweets” for authors whose works they are reading, for fictional characters, and for historical figures.
  5. Watch the Current video The Twitter Experiment—”Twistory” in the Classroom to see how a history professor used Twitter to engage more students in class discussion.
  6. If you still haven’t found the right activity for your class, check out “Twenty-Three Interesting Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom,” “Twitter for Academia,” and “Top 100 Tools for the Twittering Teacher” for even more tips and ideas.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Teaching with Technology
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3 Responses to “Twitter Resources for the Classroom”

  1. Dave, New School University Says:

    Knowing how to Tweet will not help you become a productive member of society. Knowing how not to might. Now excuse me while I post that to Twitter.

  2. M. Newcomb, UTSA Says:

    I have one concern about this claim. I was talking with a Human Resources manager just this weekend who mentioned she had two applicants come in for one job. The one thing that made her choose App A over App B was that App B was following a large number of twitters and had several ongoing blogs. Her concern is that App A is too busy with his cyber world to focus on a “real job.” I can’t help but wonder about other employers in the same boat.

  3. M. Newcomb, UTSA Says:

    Correction – App B is too busy to focus, not App A! Sorry.

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