4 Reasons to Use Twitter in the Classroom

Yup, you heard me right. Twitter in the classroom is a fantastic learning tool. Maybe I’m preaching to the choir with this post, but if you are considering using social media as part of your learning toolbox, then think about Twitter.

Yesterday my colleague, Professor Gaggin, and I taught our students the essentials of Twitter chats. The response from our students was fantastic!

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Chats are great in the classroom and in the industry. They are simple, easy ways to connect with others and learn about topics that interest you. Chats have specific topics that range from travel to books and everything in between. Twitter chats are cool because they can draw people from around the world to join the conversation as they are happening live.

For example, while our chat was only promoted to our students, a few of my followers jumped in on the conversation. I love that chats break the traditional boundaries of education. Classroom walls are virtual. Students can connect with others and build their personal learning network.

If you are considering a chat for your classroom here are a few tips:

  1. Use a specified chat hashtag to participate. I use #LRNSMPR to unify conversations surrounding social media and public relations. PR and SM are what I write, teach, and speak about. *Side note* I’ll be at the PRSA International Conference this weekend. Stop by the Syracuse University Newhouse School booth 31, located on the 4th Floor and say “Hi” or attend my session Going #Rogue: Losing Control of Your Social Media  – Simmons, 3rd Floor.
  2. Use software such as HootSuite to make participating easy. HootSuite is an all in one dashboard that allows you manage the conversation. And, if you are hosting the chat, the platform allows you to schedule your tweets ahead of time so that you are not frantically creating tweets while the chat is happening.
  3. Use the traditional Q&A format. Q1, A1, Q2, A2, and so on. Pro-tip – ALWAYS include the hashtag, otherwise, not everyone in the chat will see your responses.
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  4. Twitterfall or TweetBeam are great tools to have running in the front of the classroom because then students can see tweets as they happen in real-time.
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    If you’re not quite ready to host your own chat, then join one or two. Experience taking part in a chat first, then try it with your students.

    My fellow educators, what did I miss? Any other suggestions or tips for teaching via Twitter?
    I’ve been holding class virtually for more than 6 years. So, if you are an educator thinking about hosting a chat for your class, let me know what questions you have, I’m happy to answer them.

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