6 simple ways to use Twitter in the Classroom

Twitter could be the easiest bulk messaging system on the planet due to it's simplicity of use, stretch on mobile devices and simple hashtag system of tracking subjects and topics. 

Nearly every student has access to it via their mobile device and we often overlook the possibility to use it in the classroom. 

Below are six simple ideas that you could use with your students today.

Set up a poll: Teachers might want to set up a Twitter poll for either their students or the broader microblogging community. The applications are limited only by one’s own creativity; for an added bonus, combine the poll with some sort of geotracker.

Host a Twitter scavenger hunt: For fun and education, get students moving and organize a sort of Twitter scavenger hunts — maybe even see if other classrooms or professionals want to get involved. As with many of the projects listed here, such an activity can easily be applied to a wide number of grade levels and academic subjects.

Keep parents informed: When teaching the younger set, parents may like to follow along with what’s going on in their children’s day. Keep a Twitter feed updating them about the different lessons and activities as they happen for greater engagement between the home and the classroom.

Announcements: Rather than sending out a mass e-mail, many education professionals find it far easier to tweet changes, cancellations and other important announcements. Definitely avoids the dreaded spam filter that oftentimes prevents students from receiving time-sensitive messages.

Enabling discussion outside of class: University of Texas emerging media professor David Parry also talked Twitter with Mashable, lauding the ubiquitous microblog as an excellent way for his students to continue class discussions after they’ve already ended. And they frequently do!

______ of the day: No matter the class, a vocabulary word, book, song, quote or something else “of the day” might very well make an excellent supplement to the day’s lesson. When teaching younger kids, tell their parents about the Twitter feed and encourage them to talk about postings at home.

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Use twitter live in PowerPoint Presentations.

Ever been subjected to death PowerPoint where someone basically reads the information on screen for hours on end.  Well this little ditty can spice up a presentation by getting live audience feedback via twitter that will update instantly on screen an engage the audience in seconds.  Yes Polleverywhere have come up with an app that you can instantly as a question such as what is your favourite colour?  Your audience Twitter their response and it collates the data and presents it live on screen theough PowerPoint.  Both free and Paid versios are available of course - Check it out here.

Top 100 tools for Twittering Teachers

Having tried and tested Twitter a couple of years ago I am almost becoming the anti-twitter spokesperson with the amount of dribble being circulated on it of late from the corporate world and wannabe celebrities.  But I am not naive to the potential and actual success people have had from using it regularly to create and strengthen their profile and social networks. ie: Barack Obama.  I  also accept it is a great classroom tool specifically in the secondary school area  and I came across this article from bestcollegesonline.com that lists the top 100 twitter tools for teachers some of you may find this useful.