10 Ways To Use Twitter As An EdTech Tool

Laura is a writer and recent Cambridge graduate with particular experience in the area of education technology. She has worked with a variety of different education companies and is active in the 'edtech' community on Twitter, so she prides herself on always being in touch with the latest developments and exciting new tools in e-learning.

For Your Students…

1. Get Creative

Twitter is a great way to explore creative thinking and exciting ways of expressing yourself in a limited space. Use a class Twitter account to send out a tweet written by each student on the same theme and see whose gets the most responses and retweets, then analyse what was successful! Was it humour, alliteration, rhyme, intelligence, wit, clever hash tag use? A great way to learn about marketing and mass media!

2. Stay Connected

When going on class trips or school exchanges, Twitter can be a fantastic tool to keep connected to the classroom. One class can use a common account to tweet news, updates and photographs back to their classmates at home, or individual students can use their own devices to contribute to a common hash tag during their trip, creating a communal documentation project that can be displayed when you get back to school.

3. Learn and Discover

Twitter can be a great research tool, particularly for a project on current affairs. Let students use it to explore how differently events can be perceived and reported from different points of view, or have them follow a particular hash tag or online campaign to learn about the power of social media and communication.

4. Meet Virtual Classmates

Twitter is a great way to allow your class to connect with other learners across the globe. Tons of schools now have class blogs with connected Twitter accounts and are keen to correspond with students in different countries. It’s a great way to exchange information and learn about different cultures, belief systems and countries.

5. Find Inspiration

Twitter is almost unlike any other tool in the access it grants students to get close to their heroes. A ‘find your hero’ exercise is a great way to allow pupils to use Twitter as a resource to find inspirational people, young and old, who share their interests or backgrounds and become motivated and inspired by them. Being able to follow them for regular updates and even tweet them questions gives a fantastic feeling of real closeness that can help pupils to feel involved and engaged.

 

For You…

6. Make Contacts

Twitter is one of the richest resources on the web for networking with like-minded educators – use it to create a PLN (personal learning network) that extends far beyond the reach of your school or even country. Learn from the best about exciting new advances in the world of education technology and find out about top resources the moment they’re available.

7. Get Involved

Twitter isn’t only a source of one-way information – it’s also a great forum for debate and discussion. Get involved with organised weekly forums like the #eltchat or #edchat and you’ll find yourself in the middle of fast-paced, exciting, whirlwind conversations about the latest, most important questions in education and technology. This is a great place to pick up edtech tips and ideas.

8. Ask Questions

One of the best things about the edtech community on Twitter is that they’re a really active, vocal bunch! The more you put in, the more you’ll get out, so don’t be afraid to get stuck in and raise questions and issues, or float ideas – you’ll be sure of an enthusiastic reception and a whole host of varied ideas in response!

9. Research Tools

If there’s a new site or resource you’re thinking about using in class, Twitter provides a fantastic opportunity to gauge others’ opinions and feedback about how it has worked out for them. A great way to save time on trawling through resources – let the Twitter consensus narrow it down to the top few and then you can decide which would be best for your students!

10. Keep Track

With the wealth of EdTech resources now available online, it is increasingly difficult to keep a single record of all the different tools and pages you want to remember to check out or use again in the future. Few sites have as clear and simple a method of collecting such references as Twitter’s ‘favourite’ function, which allows you to swiftly flag tweets you want to remember to read later or those with links to great resources you want to keep a record of.

 

How do YOU use Twitter as an EdTech Tool? Let us know (and share your tips with other educators) using the comments box below!

 

Feature image courtesy of Flickr, id-iom.

  • http://twitter.com/EdTechEmpowers Brian C. Bailey

    Twitter is amazing for educators and education! The more I use it (and you’ve got to use it to understand it!), the more I’m convinced. Just this morning, for example, my Twitter PLN provided me with a great new cloud-based tool for displaying data that I’d never heard of before. I’ve read three or 4 great articles on teaching and learning (it is Friday after all), got a new idea for using edtech in the classroom, read a couple of motivating quotes, felt connected to a group of 1,500 educators I am following who are committed to improving education and who became teachers for all the right reasons (it’s incredibly motivating and energizing when you link up with like-minded professionals – contrast that with feeling isolated in your thoughts and lacking support – there are certainly many teachers in the latter camp – they need to join twitter asap!), etc., etc. It took me awhile to figure this twitter thing out so my advice is be patient as you explore and eventually all will be revealed. You will be joining the best pro-d/networking tool yet invented – it’s worth it to invest the time…and the more you contribute, the more you’ll be rewarded. Take your time and enjoy!

    • FractusLearning

      Brian! Thank you so much for your really insightful comment. I think your example is the exact reason Twitter is changing the way educators connect and grow their own tool-sets and skill-sets.
      I also can’t agree more with you about taking some time to figure out Twitter. My advice to all teachers is to persist, because the rewards are well worth the initial feelings of confusion. One of my favorite infographics is on the 4 stages of getting Twitter:
      http://andfaraway.net/pictures/four_stages_of_getting_twitter.jpg
      It is just so true :)

      All the best
      Nick

  • Dick van der Wateren

    I agree Twitter is an indispensable tool for educators. My experience w/ Twitter in the class is not so positive yet. How do you prevent flooding of your time with hundreds of personal, not school related tweets by your students?

    • FractusLearning

      Hi Dick and thanks for the comment. I have heard a number of teachers with the same problem. One way is to have students create a separate account for class. They would only use this account to Tweet school/class related Tweets.
      The other way I could see getting around the problem is to create a unique class hashtag. Students can then Tweet as much personal messages as they want, but will only tag class related Tweets with the class hashtag. You would then use the hashtag stream to filter the school related Tweets.

      Let us know how you get on.

      Cheers
      Nick

  • Mark

    Couldn’t agree more with Brian (below) I know so many teachers who snub Twitter and say it is nonsense but you only have to get a little involved to realise just how rich the list of resources available to you is and the great feeling of being connected to other educators. I particularly love the idea about using Twitter to help students find and follow their personal hero – great inspirational class idea!

    • FractusLearning

      Thanks for the comment Mark and love you passion. It is amazing to see the transformation in teachers that make the effort to delve below the ‘easy to disregard’ surface of Twitter. Glad you liked the article!

      Cheers
      Nick

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  • http://twitter.com/ActivateLearn Helen Blunden

    Thanks Laura, great list that doesn’t need to be just for a classroom but also used in any adult learning.

    • FractusLearning

      Thanks for the comment Helen! Absolutely. The more I use Twitter, the more I see opportunities in nearly every facet of life.
      Nick

  • Adriane G

    I love some of the elements twitter presents as an educational tool: the familiarity of the twitter format among students and the brevity of discussion comments are excellent forms of relation. I look forward to experimenting with twitter in my classroom!

    • FractusLearning

      Happy experimenting Adriane!

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