By Nadia Jones*
Twitter may have not been originally designed to help teachers enhance their career development, but the micro-blogging social media site has really transformed the way some educators are connecting with students in the classroom today. Not only is it a more interactive approach when giving lessons for example, but it's also time-friendly—which is really important to teachers who spend most of their time preparing lesson plans and grading exams. That said, Twitter can be a really useful tool. To learn a few ways that you can utilize it, continue reading below.
Follow Industry Leaders. Teachers should always keep learning, and one of the easy ways to keep track of news and trends pertaining to your particular field or just education in general is "follow" other industry leaders. You can use the search tool bar and use hashtags (#) with keywords to help you locate desired niches such as #edchat. But to help you get started, here are a few "handles" we suggest you follow to keep you in the loop: Inside Higher Tech, eCampusNews, and Cooperative Catalyst.
Incorporate Twitter into Lesson Plans.Last but not least, you can use Twitter directly in your lesson plans. A good friend of mine, who just happens to be a 9th grade English teacher, tries to use Twitter in order to help characters in various books come to life. Each student takes on a novel character and creates a handle, such as @Gatsby124. The student then "tweets" as if he or she is that character. They are required to use hashtags as well. Since students are limited to 140 characters, it also helps improve their writing because they're forced to write more concisely.
Of course these are only a few ways that teachers can use Twitter to their advantage. Does anyone else have some great tips?
(*) Nadia Jones is an education blogger for onlinecollege.org. She enjoys writing on topics of education reform, education news, and online learning platforms. Outside of the blogging world, Nadia volunteers her time at an after school program for a local middle school and plays pitcher for her adult softball team. She welcomes your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.