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Four Reasons to Use Twitter in the Classroom for Discussion

Dr. Katherine McKnight

Four Reasons to Use Twitter for Class DiscussionTwitter in the Classroom

Teenagers love to talk. Venture into any high school classroom and chattering abounds. Oftentimes, the chatter is about instruction and in a class of 25 or so students, we can often miss some of the most insightful or interesting comments since there is so much competition for “air space.”

What if we could keep a seamless record of students’ ideas and thoughts about a classroom activity that actually enhanced and deepened the learning experience?

There is a tool for this: Twitter

In our increasingly linguistically-diverse classes, tweeting affords students the opportunity to comment in 140 characters. This format fosters precision, revision, and editing since the tweet is a short written expression that is instantaneous and reaches a huge audience. 

Imagine a high school classroom where there is a discussion about a novel or video and the students are able to respond immediately.  There are additional advantages to teaching our students how to ‘tweet” in class.

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To Tweet or Not: Twitter in the Classroom

  • Tweeting in class as a supplement to large group discussion guarantees that all students are able to participate. This makes the discussion and classroom more democratic.
  • Tweeting in class creates a visual record of the discussion. This is particularly helpful for students who need visual support in addition to auditory input during class discussions.
  • In addition to visual support, texting is a kinesthetic activity and as such, can reach more learning modalities.
  • The written record of the class discussion can be used for additional writing and discussion activities.

Our students are well versed and expect to use technology as a means to learn about and understand the world.  Yet, as teachers, we are often hesitant to encourage and teach our students how to use a web-based tool like Twitter in the classroom.

Be bold and give twitter a try. Once you get past the social media stigma in schools, you may find a free teaching tool that gives students a voice.

Do you use twitter in the classroom or other social media? Share in the comments section!