This post was written by Liz Perman, an editorial project manager for SmartBrief.

Hundreds of educators from international schools around the world came to Nice, France, for the European Council of International Schools annual conference from Nov. 17 to 21. Teachers everywhere are grappling with how to integrate social media into their lesson plans, and many seem skeptical of the appeal of Twitter, let alone how it could be used for educational purposes.

In her session, “Cure What Ails You: A Dose of Twitter for Every Day of the Year,” Kathy Schrock, director of technology for Nauset Public Schools in Orleans, Mass., walked educators through the basics of Twitter (see her presentation if you could use a tutorial as well) before outlining the specific benefits of Twitter for educators.

Schrock recommends that educators think of Twitter as another venue for professional development. She suggests that educators search Twitter for like-minded professionals to follow and interact with. Directories such as Twitter4Teachers can be a helpful place to start. Schrock emphasizes the importance of contributing to conversations on Twitter, as it’s a community based on give and take.

Going beyond professional development, Twitter can be used to engage students in the classroom. Schrock told educators in the room to try asking students to use Twitter to:

  • Take on the persona of a historical figure
  • Summarize readings in 140 characters or less
  • Share useful hyperlinks
  • Collaborate on writing exercises
  • Follow breaking news
  • Practice foreign languages

Calling all educators: How are you integrating Twitter in the classroom?

Image credit: kabliczech, via iStockPhoto

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20 Responses to “How Twitter can help teachers connect with students — and each other”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SmartBrief, DebbyBruck, Kathy Meyer, mo' stash, Heide Kolb and others. Heide Kolb said: How #Twitter can help teachers connect with students — and each other http://bit.ly/dLvveT via @so_you_know: @2cre8 #edu [...]

  2. David Perdew says:

    I see this as a great opportunity to get kids thinking on how to use Twitter for more than just conversation. Since they start with computers at such a young age now, it would help to get them started on the right foot, so to speak. There aren't many business sectors or disciplines left that Twitter hasn't touched in some way by now.

  3. Patrick says:

    See the following two articles for a description of how higher education can use Twitter for educational purposes.
    Horton Hears a Tweet: http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAU

    Tweeting the Night Away http://www.patricklowenthal.com/publications/Usin

    • Mrs. Martel says:

      We love Twitter as a grade one teacher, because we Tweet to the parents of our students everyday to let them know what we did at school. How many times as your child come home and said "I didn't do anything at school." Now parents know what we did and the students recap their day. We love it!

  4. [...] How Twitter can Help Teachers Connect with Students and Each Other [...]

  5. @CreativeEdu says:

    I really enjoyed this post and the responses. I think the most exciting use of twitter in the classroom I've seen was the Gunpowder Plot which was simply fabulous!

  6. @scieducation says:

    Thanks for this. Have you seen the book "Historical Tweets" by Alan Beard and Alec McNayr? It is so funny, but also a great starting point for students to take on the persona of a historical figure and "humanize' the learning. I teach science and am searching for a similar book … or will write one myself! I figure my students could put together great tweets related to any subject we are studying.

  7. @sagehistory says:

    I have been using twitter as a way of communicating with students and parents, as well as using it as community bulletin board to post announcements and homework from the classroom. Feel free to check it out, http://www.twitter.com/sagehistory

  8. Jeremy says:

    I'd love to, but have thus far been prevented from doing so with students by the ever-present, treated-like-god filter, and resistance from those who control said filter. Any suggestions for getting the IT gatekeepers people on board with Twitter?
    My recent post Students as Student Evaluators- or- ‘Would You Hire This Person’

  9. Crystal says:

    I teach young students and sometimes twitter can be overwhelming. We have a twitter account for our classroom and keep it up during the day. The kids love seeing the news or certain pieces of information pop up. Another good site is twiducate. It is twitter for the classroom. This way, we are protected and I am able to monitor the students. It is still in Beta form so some avenues are still not available, such as connecting with other classrooms – but it is my undrestanding that they are working on it. Right now, my kids are having a good time talking about books, movies, current events, and other questions they pose to each other. It's been great so far. Check it out… http://www.twiducate.com

  10. [...] How Twitter can help teachers connect with students – and each other (smartblogs.com) [...]

  11. [...] Did you hear our big news? ESL-Library is now sponsoring #ELTChat! Having been involved with twitter throughout 2010, we truly believe in the power of a personal learning network. We are excited about this opportunity to give back to the teachers who have supported our site. If you missed last week’s #ELTChat episode, you can listen to RRP President, Ben Buckwold, discuss his thoughts on the sponsorship here. If you’re not yet participating in the weekly chats on twitter, visit eltchat.com to learn more about how you can join in the conversation. Speaking of twitter, there are some interesting ideas here for using twitter with students. [...]

  12. lenanozizwe says:

    For the past year I have been using Twitter to help educate my college journalism students. Not everyone is a fan, but social media skills are essential to the field.
    My recent post Day 9 Bling Without Kaching

  13. [...] How Twitter can help Teachers Connect with Students – and each other [...]

  14. Laurie says:

    I recently used twitter in a university freshmen orientation course. Students were required to tweet 5 times a week, and accept all their classmates as followers. At the end of the class 1/2 of the students said using Twitter made them feel more connected to their classmates. Here's the URL to the syllabus for the class: http://www.scribd.com/doc/38345863/Social-Media-S
    My recent post Product Key

  15. [...] How Twitter can help teachers connect with students – and each other (smartblogs.com) [...]

  16. [...] article in Smart Brief on Ed Tech (11/30) gives ideas about how Twitter can be used for both professional development, and also to engage [...]

  17. Tim says:

    Thanks for the tutorial links. My school is just about to start using twitter for marketing, but I think the potential as a learning tool is great too.

    The important thing with involving social networking with work though is staying professional, especially as a teacher. You don't want your students seeing pictures of how drunk you were last Friday night! For that reason, I think it's good to have separate profiles for work and personal use.
    My recent post News Idioms

  18. Facebook is "safe," non-aggressive, social network. Problem – If FB users can buy and spend credits freely then companies and individuals will naturally be more focused on creating and pushing their store front rather then pushing social interaction. The article gives a great breakdown on Facebook ability to push its credit system, but it doesn't explain at all ho this new busines model completely transforms Facebook's core business.

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