So, you’ve been using Twitter personally and professionally, but you’re not quite sure how to get started in the classroom. Here are a few tips to get started and a few questions to ask yourself before you get started.
Welcome to Twittersphere!
I started using Twitter in the classroom in 2010, using the account @Ask_Mr_McGill. It was a fantastic revision tool for my 6th form students and lesson. However, the success of using social media in the classroom started spreading across the school with other colleagues in and out of my own school. I then had to re-think how I could use Twitter in my professional work, particularly as a direct outcome of teaching less and less 6th form classes as I moved from middle to senior school leadership.
How could I continue to use Twitter to enhance my own professional development, as well as a tool for learning in my classrooms?
“Set up your own Twitter account; share your experiences and reflect on good teaching over time with the help of social media!”
Despite my ever-changing rationale, I started to reflect in how I could use social media to improve the overall quality of teaching and learning my my classroom. This blog serves as a simple start-up guide for all teachers to consider; for teachers (considering) using Twitter in the classroom, as well as important safeguarding issues to consider. (Tweet this?)
10 Twitter Tips for the Classroom:
Here is a simple 10-step guide to help you get started on Twitter in your own school or classroom.
- Understand Twitter before creating an account for professional/classroom purposes. Read my start up guide here; 10 Tips for Tweeting Teachers.
- Define the purpose of your account. Will it be for a class, or a general account for all ages and lesson interaction? Perhaps a school account?
- What will you use the social media account for? Setting homework; sharing photos; revision; a subject/news channel?
- Lock down the account. Protect yourself and your students and parents who may potentially ‘follow’ the account or respond to various messages. It is important to consider any school Twitter account is an ‘output-channel’ from the outset.
- Share the twitter handle (name) with your students/class/colleagues.
- Spend some time teaching your students how Twitter works. Ask them to follow your account but insist that you will not follow back. This is generally useful and sound ICT practice for safeguarding. There is a useful tutorial here.
- Consider a unique hashtag with enables text-vocabulary to become an interactive search-engine within each message. I created #AskMcGill. This means that anyone can follow the conversation by clicking on and following the hashtag, #AskMcGill.
- Start small. Get all your students logged on and get them following you and your account. Teach them how to protect themselves and then ask them to share what they are learning in their first tweet message. Make sure they include the same hashtag for everyone to follow the chat.
- Demonstrate how all the messages in the conversation can be viewed by searching for a hashtag via Twitter or viewing via archives such as Storify or Nurph (which captures conversations in video). You can also archive the conversation as evidence of learning using scribd.com – you can print it off or share it digitally.
- There is a wealth of information here from @Edudemic here at: www.bit.ly/Edudemic and also Andy Lewis – @TalkingDonkeyRE who also has some great practical advice for class teachers who blog. Alternatively, if you want to introduce a colleague to Twitter, try @BATTTUK (Bring A Teacher To Twitter).
Take It Further:
Consider sharing your classroom tweets via a blog. There are far too many to mention, but popular ones are Edmodo, Blogger or WordPress are helpful. Read my 10 Top Tips for blogging Teachers. This information can be used as a channel to communicate with parents and the rest of the school. Check your ICT user-policy in your school beforehand. If you are feeling uber-confident, you may wish to try 10 Simple Coding Tips for Beginners to help drive more readers to your blog.
It’s well worth the read. Want to give it a go? Then say so here.
You can read more here.