Join Oliver Schinkten for an in-depth discussion in this video Four ways to use Twitter with your students, part of Teacher Tech Tips Weekly.
- Welcome to Teacher Tech Tips. I'm Oliver Schinkten. This week, I want to show you how Twitter can be a valuable tool to improve your class. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to social media especially Twitter. Many people see it as a waste of time or a way to update people about what you're doing right now. Well, over the past few years Twitter has evolved into an incredible source of professional development. It allows you to connect with thousands of like-minded educators from around the world to share resources, stories, and advice. But using it for this will be the topic of a different Teacher Tech Tip video.
In this video, I want to discuss how you can use Twitter to improve your class. First of all, your students need you to use Twitter. They need to see more teachers model appropriate digital citizenship. We talk a lot in the schools about getting students career ready. But we often give little to no attention to our students' online behaviors. In a recent survey done by Jobvite, they found that over 90% of employers research candidates' social media profiles before hiring them. A survey by CareerBuilder found that 51% of employers have decided not to hire a candidate based on things they found on their social media accounts.
So, how can you model this by using Twitter in your class? There are hundreds of ways that I've seen educators use Twitter. In this video, I'm going to share four great ways which you can begin implementing immediately. Now obviously, you're going to want to check with your administrators to make sure that using social media in your classroom is okay. The first thing I recommend is creating a classroom Twitter account. One that's separate from your personal account. The way that Twitter works is that anyone following you will receive your tweets in their activity stream.
In this case, I'm going to be sending out messages to my class and I don't really want those to appear in all of those people's activity stream. So, I'm going to navigate to an account that I just created titled "OVHS Science Class". Now, as you can see there's nobody following us yet and we're not following anyone. So for that reason, if I send out a tweet, it will not appear in anyone's activity stream. And in our activity stream there is nothing yet because we're not following anyone. The first thing I would do is to encourage your students to follow this account.
Once they're following it, the first use I have for Twitter is for communication. Lets say that we have a field trip coming up tomorrow. I could send out a tweet that says, "Remember, we have a field trip tomorrow." I'm even going to go in here and put, "Thursday," just to make sure I communicate that properly. Now, when I send this out, anyone following us will receive that in their activity stream. This is a great way to share information with students using a medium that most of them will be familiar with.
I'll close this out. A second way to use Tweeter in your class is to use it as a running news feed showing news about your content area. How do you this? Well, I'm going to in here and follow some accounts related to science news. So, this one I'll select. When I go back to the home page, they will recommend some more. I'll follow NASA. So, there I followed five different ones. I could refresh as I keep getting different recommendations based on what I've been choosing.
But I have five of them that I'm following now. So, I'll refresh this page. And as you can see, now in our activity stream, we do have posts. The top one from Science News. The second one by Popular Science and on it goes. So now that we're following these accounts, our activity stream will stay updated with news related to science. This is a great thing then to post in your classroom during the day so that students can follow along and check out new stories related to your content. A third way to use Twitter is to encourage students to create a career following list.
So, encourage them to follow some different accounts related to a career that they may be interested in. For instance, if you have a student who's interested in a health career, in a medical field. You could have them follow the accounts of doctors or hospitals. Most websites in businesses these days have Twitter accounts. If I go in here and search for Children's Hospital, when I select the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, and here if I scroll to the bottom, they do have a Twitter feed.
So, I'm going to click on their Twitter account and I'm now following them. So, I would encourage your students to find five to ten different accounts that are related to a career they're interested in and follow those. This would be a great way for them to see news related to that career as well as resources, articles, and other stuff. I'll close these out. Now, a fourth way to use Twitter for class is to showcase everything good about your school. In his book, "All Hands on Deck," author, Brad Currie, emphasizes the importance of connecting our schools with our parents and community.
One example of this is by letting the community know about all of the great things that your students are doing. For instance, in our class, we recently raised $5000 for a project titled "iPads for Autism" which helped us purchased iPads for local students with autism. In order to share this accomplishment, I can send it out as a tweet. I'll click here. And I'm going to type in the message, "Congratulations to our OVHS students "for raising $5000 for the iPads for Autism Project." Before I mentioned that only people who are following us will be able to see the messages that we send out.
However, if we include a hash tag, people can see our message by searching for or following that specific hash tag. Once people see this and retweet our message, it then becomes visible to everyone following them. So here, I'm going to add a hashtag and I'm going to put "#OVHStitans" and this is a hashtag related to our high school. Anyone who wants to follow the things going on in our high school, could then follow this hashtag. We could also add a more popular hashtag such as "#autism".
And then, anyone who looks up the autism hashtag will be able to see our story in that feed. These are just some of the ways that you can use Twitter in your classroom. If you do Google search on Twitter in a classroom, you'll find hundreds of other ways which you can use it. If you want to learn more about the fundamentals of Twitter, there's several courses on Lynda.com that you can watch. I recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and giving it a try. Using a social media tool like Twitter is a great way to communicate and collaborate and one that most of your students will be familiar with.
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