Role Playing with Social Media


Where to Start

So you want to use social media in your classroom but need a place to start? Try out this strategy. It’s fun, quick and effective.

Role playing with social media is probably my favorite technology integration strategies. Students love it, they are engaged and most importantly, learning is successfully moved beyond the classroom.

The Concept

The concept is ridiculously simple; students interact in character via social media. Let’s take it from there and look at some examples.

Role Playing with Social MediaFirst of all, you need a social media platform to have the conversations. Many schools have a forum built in to their website. The page where you post homework assignments probably has a forum. If you use Moodle, a Moodle forum will definitely work. You can create a Wikispaces page…it has a forum as well. The list goes on…there are zillions of sites where a chat or forum can be created. However, if you want the absolute easiest option with no sign-ups, use It uses a Twitter-like interface and it works great for this type of assignment.

TIP: If you are using a Twitter-like interface, use your own, custom hashtags to help filter the content.

Now that you have you platform ready, assign students to a character. This can be characters in a work of literature, in a historical event, etc. You probably have a lot of students so break the class into about five groups and assign characters creating five identical groups. This is because you will rarely need 25 separate characters. At this point you will have, for example, five Jim Bowie’s, five Davie Crockett’s, etc.

Give them a prompt such as, “It’s a week before the Battle of the Alamo; have an Alamo tweet-up and discuss what’s happening and what you are thinking. Make sure you respond to Santa Anna’s tweets!”

Another fun activity is have students tweet “missing chapters” in a book or have an in-character back-channel while you read a chapter to the class.

Role playing using social media has been a big success for me. What ideas have worked for you? Please post a comment below and thanks for reading the educational technology blog Teach Amazing!