30 ways to use Twitter to accelerate learning

Posted: January 12, 2011 in Twitter
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How can Twitter be used to accelerate learning? Here are 30!

1. Provide tips daily.

Teachers can tweet to their students a word a day, with short definition to provide a constant reach of vocabulary. Teachers can also tweet questions/ new words and ask students to find the meaning of the words and reply to the tweet. Teachers can also post questions about the current topic they are learning to provide continuous support for learning.

2. Review a book.

Set up a book reading club and integrate Twitter by providing a platform for the members to write a short review of the book that they are currently reading, or even provide a teaser for the members of the club about a book and ask them to predict the ending of the book. This forecasting activity will help the students to engage with the content of the book in order to know the chronology of the story.

3. Express thoughts.

Some students are afraid to put up their hands and participate in a classroom discussion. Students are afraid that their ideas may be ridiculed if they get it wrong. Teachers can use Twitter to help these “silent” students to participate in the classroom by providing a platform where they can express their ideas freely, without (or less) the risk of being ridiculed by other classmates.

4. Post questions about assignments.

Provide a place for the students to ask anything about the assignments that you have given to them. This simply replaces the role of e-mail. Gives the opportunity for students to think about their learning outside of the lesson.

5. Ask questions without raising hands.

Particularly in a large classroom, for example a lecture hall, you will be overwhelmed by the amount of students and often finds it hard to ask or answer questions. For this instance Twitter can be used as a mediator for discussions in the class. Using Twitter, students can personally post their questions pertaining to the topic that day and as the teacher, you can just project your Twitter page onto the IWB and have a live streaming of questions from your students. This will also encourage those who are a bit shy in raising their hands to post questions. As a result, you will have a higher degree of participation.

6. Brainstorm.

Generating ideas by brainstorming is an effective learning experience. You will have an influx of ideas coming out from many heads, but what if your peers, or your students cannot be at one place and at one time? You can use this particular idea when you or the students are not physically present. This is much like distance learning, but more on a discussion mode.

7. Twittories.

This requires participants to create a sentence of a continuation of the previous sentence made by the person before them. The game is often called ‘Consequences’ or ‘Chain Story’ because the participants must continually produce a continuous one-sentence story. Twittories is the adaptation of that game on the Twitter platform. Ask your students to write a chain story; with each student having exactly 140 letters to use. A fantastic idea for a creative writing project.

George Male a Middle School Teacher in Montgomery County, Marlyland set up a creative writing project using this approach called “@manyvoices”. The end result was a story in which over a hundred students from six different countries contributed. It is now a published book.

8. Connect with other classrooms.

In this digital age, you cannot limit your teaching and learning to your own classroom. By bringing in resources from outside the classroom, you can enrich the learning experience for the students. You can connect your classroom with those from other schools, bringing a wider dimension for discussions and knowledge transfer. Using Twitter, you can achieve all this by just simply following the person that you want to collaborate, or create a new Tweeter account for your class and for the corresponding class, and let your students posts tweets between the two classes.

9. Lingua Tweeta.

Perfect for Modern Foreign Language engagement. Tweet your students some sentences in a foreign language, and ask the students to reply to you using the same foreign language.  Or you can even ask the students to translate the sentences into their native language.

10. Twit Board

Notify students of changes to course content, schedules, venues, exam dates, revision classes, relevant TV programmes currently on or other important information.

11. Summing Up

Ask students to read an article or chapter and then post their brief summary or précis of the key point(s). A limit of 140 characters demands a lot of academic discipline.

12. Tweet about useful resources. (One for the teachers!)

Teachers can tweet any information that they find which have the ability to provide support materials for the lesson and the students will have the access to these tweets via following their teacher. In addition, teachers can share useful resources with other teachers as well. This promotes a supporting environment for the educationist.

Popular educational hashtags to follow are;

#educhat - Education

#ukedchat - UK Education

#ntchat - New Teachers

#gtchat - Gifted and Talented

#scichat - Science

#mathchat - Maths

#engchat – English
13. Twit Links

Share a hyperlink – a directed task for students – each is required to regularly share one new hyperlink to a useful site they have found. Perfect for collaborative revision or research.

14. Twitter Stalking

Follow a famous person and document their progress. Better still if this can be linked to an event (During the recent U.S. Presidential elections, many people followed @BarackObama and kept up to date with his speeches, etc).

15. Time Tweet

Choose a famous person from the past and create a twitter account for them – choose an image which represents the historical figure and over a period of time write regular tweets in the role of that character, in a style and using the vocabulary you think they would have used (e.g. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar).

16. Micro Meet

Hold discussions involving all the subscribing students. As long as everyone is following the whole group, no-one should miss out on the Twitter stream. All students participate because a sequence of contributors is agreed beforehand.

17. Tweming

Start off a tweme (a theme) – agree on a common hash-tag E.g. #mrcolescellsyr7 so that all the created content is automatically captured. The theme could be based on what was learnt in a lesson or future learning. The theme could be followed real time by students during the lesson on the specific topic and concept being taught on the IWB.

18. Twitter Pals

Encourage students to find a Twitter ‘penpal’ and regularly converse with them over a period of time to find out about their culture, hobbies, friends, family etc. Ideal for learning about people from other cultures.

19. Homework Tweet

Engage your students by tweeting them their homework! The tweet could be in a form of an exam question or a link to revision website or simply to comment on what they learnt in today’s lesson. You will receive instant indications of who or hasn’t completed their homework – and guess what? You may even witness your students talking and helping each other with their homework!

20. Tweet Self and Peer Assessment

A beautifully simple plenary for the 21st Century learner! Ask your students to assess each others work using Twitter and encourage them to give advice on how to progress. Also works as a way for each student to reflect on their own work and what they will do next lesson to help their learning.

21. Journalism

Use Twitter to teach journalism. Ask students to use Twitter to report news in 140 characters or less to practice communicating important information succinctly. This could be used in a History lesson to learn about past events or it could be a way to inform and engage students in current affairs. As a class project students could produce a live minute by minute account of a famous news story – either a live news story or a past event.

22. Following events on Twitter.

Watch citizen journalism in action. World events unfold immediately on Twitter, so invite students to follow citizen journalism along with the mainstream news.  The NASA website http://www.nasa.gov/ for example has a live Twitter feed keeping viewers informed of their projects and launches.

23. Tweet famous conversations.

Invite students to tweet imagined conversations between famous literary figures such as Romeo and Juliet, Sherlock Holmes and Watson, or Dante and Beatrice.

24. Alien Tweet

Create a fantasy planet and ask your students or Alien explorers to tweet back to the ‘Mother Ship’ what they have found out in today’s lesson – for example a lesson on Adaptation in Science could lead to the students tweeting about strange creatures found on planet Earth!

25. Create a career list.

Set up an interesting assignment requesting that students set up Twitter lists following feeds relevant to their career goals and keep a daily journal on any trends that crop up along the way.

26. Chat with industry professionals.

Students in Year 11 or the Sixth Form who need to explore their career options before leaving could benefit from real-world discussions with professionals in paths they’re considering. Twitter helps them connect with primary sources and facilitates educational communication.

27. Become politically active.

Any teachers responsible for educating kids in politics or government may like the idea of encouraging their students to use Twitter as a forum to make society aware of issues that affect them by retweeting relevant events, news stories, blog posts and other media revolving around a chosen theme.

28. Post Maths puzzles.

Maths, Chemistry or Physics teachers need not feel left out from playing games and posting teasers on Twitter. Like their literate contemporaries, they can microblog a daily problem for students to solve and tweet back the answer.

29. Create an online art gallery.

Students studying art and the humanities can curate their own shows based around creators, movements, regions, time periods or thematic elements that they enjoy, using Twitter as a way to show the world what they think belongs in a specific exhibit.

30. Present our Tweets.

Using software such as SAP Web 2.0 http://www.sapweb20.com/blog/powerpoint-twitter-tools/ students can present the tweets used in class onto a PowerPoint. The software also allows students to vote and comment on Tweets – perfect for a plenary!

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Comments
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  16. Great article. Waiting for more.

  17. Great article. Waiting for more.

  18. Great article. Waiting for more.

  19. wania martins says:

    Nice tips! I am teacher and your text is so good! Thanks! Unfortunatelly, here in Brasil, internet acess is a little bit restricted in some areas.In big cities as Sao Paulo and Rio De janeiro almost everybody have a “way” to connect ( using computer in office, in a lan house, by phone) but in cities as Natal-RN, where I live it´s more difficult. But We will be there rsrsrs
    Have a nice weekend and sorry because I don´t speak Englsh very well.

    • taitcoles says:

      Thank you, I think your English is very good – maybe better than mine! Twitter in the classroom does require an internet connection. I’m not sure about in Brazil, but with the current status of funds in school in the UK, most schools won’t have the money to buy new software and computers. But, the beauty of this project is that Twitter is free to join and (in my personal experience in the UK) “most” students will own a mobile phone which can access the internet.

      Great to hear that my blog has reached Brasil!

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