I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss why we have chosen to adopt some forms of social media into the curriculum at our school. Specifically, I would like to explain why Twitter is a prime example of social media that has immense educational benefits.
On the surface Twitter can seem extremely superficial. After all, what could possibly be said of value in 140 characters or less? Well if you use Twitter as an educational tool there is a great deal of value that has begun to emerge. Twitter has consistently been recognized as the #1 Educational Tool for Online Learners for the past year, and as I have explored ways to use Twitter in different classes I agree with that assessment of Twitter's importance educationally. Here are some of the advantages we can give our students by asking them to use this micro-blogging tool.
- Twitter provides an instant classroom, where students can see each other's comments and insights. It creates a community feeling, and gives a shorter way for students to ask a question or share a thought with their peers and teachers.
- Twitter allows students to see how items in the Core Standards apply in real life. For example, students can discover a vocabulary word and in turn pass a test that earns rice for impoverished nations. Students can follow the effects of a natural disaster in real time. Students can see firsthand how Twitter is a way to conduct Citizen Journalism.
- Twitter also produces good writing. It is hard to say everything in 140 characters. This requires that students hone their writing skills to craft clear statements or questions. Using Twitter requires a very precise vocabulary. It also teaches the art of writing catchy and engaging statements. Editing skills can also improve through the use of Twitter.
- Twitter is being used in college classrooms now. We want our students to be familiar with its use in an educational setting and be able to fully utilize it as an educational tool long before they get to college. Think of what an advantage this gives your student!
- Twitter offers ways to show what other students are learning. Think of this as show-and-tell for learning and the excitement this can generate!
- Twitter is perfect for reluctant learners. It is so short that anyone of any ability level has something to contribute to the educational dialogue. There are not many technologies that have this capability.
- Twitter is an excellent source of primary source documentation. This is likely one of the reasons that the Library of Congress recently decided to house ALL of the Twitter archives.
It is important to remember that Twitter is a piece of technology, just like a television is. Television can either be an incredible waste of time, or it can be a way to learn about history, science, or places that otherwise might be inaccessible. Twitter can also be a waste of time, or a fantastic way to interact and learn from others. I have great plans to use Twitter as a continuing part of our curriculum and wanted you to be aware of the reasons I am so excited about this technology.
Here are some links that are useful in understanding the direction Twitter is going educationally:
Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or comments you may have.
Thank you for your involvement in your student's education!