If you currently think of Twitter as that social media tool where presidential candidates are doing battle and that place on the web where political operatives for the various candidates are trading digs you would, in fact, definitely be fully aware of popular mainstream Twitter usage. On the other hand did you know that up in Ontario, Canada, in Mrs. Wideen’s first and second grade class, her students are regularly Tweeting out to the community about what they are learning and seeing? Or that at the University of Colorado, a growing group of faculty members are all adding Twitter feeds to their online and hybrid courses and demanding that conferences make ‘live tweeting’ a standard part of the conferences they attend?
For some people it is hard to imagine how Twitter can be used as an educational tool or as a mode of communication for educators, but for many teachers Twitter has become an indispensable tool for having students engage with each other in a public forum on a topic of interest. Some faculty choose to post Twitter discussion prompts in their course and then have students use a hashtag before a word or phrase the instructor selects (which makes the searching for student Tweets later much easier). And other faculty create min-projects around Twitter (for example, everyone chooses a character or ‘voice’ from something the class is reading and tries to express that ‘voice’ via Twitter). And below, public school students in New York City Tweet out their urban and street art finds as they travel around the city, sharing the uniqueness of their local environment with each other and other members of the community.
So, if you thought Twitter wasn’t for your class or appropriate of your needs, the new world of technology presents a chance to see your subject matter and passion through a new set of eyes, using a new tool.