In this educational technology series, Social Media in the Classroom, we have covered a lot of ground. Now let’s look at several lesson ideas to get you started.
Backchanneling is when your students carry on a Twitter conversation, relevant to the lesson, while the lesson is occurring. Allowing students to tweet during your lessons can be a challenge but it is also an effective way to extend learning.
Start by giving clear directions and goals you have for using microblogging during class. Explain how this is a way to write their thoughts while the lesson is in progress. Instead of just thinking, “I’m not sure if I agree with that,” you can tweet it. This can help steer the lesson for better understanding for all.
A tweetup is when a group of Twitter users gather together and…tweet. It’s like getting together at a friend’s house but no one talks! In your classroom, you want all of your students to be involved in lively discussions. And, of course, you encourage actual, real-life dialogue between students. However, some students are quite reserved and nervous about speaking in front of their peers. While you continue to encourage these students to develop verbal expression, you can tap into their thoughts through a classroom tweetup. Many times, the quietest student in the room will share amazing insight.
Here’s a quick lesson example. You assign reading for homework. When the students come to class, they go to your TodaysMeet page and digitally discuss the assignment in silence for ten minutes. You are involved in the tweetup as well, probing for understanding. When the time is up, follow up with a short, real-life discussion. The tweetup primes the pump and when the students can finally speak, the ideas flow.
An effective way to use Twitter is to have students tweet in character. Let’s look at a specific example based upon Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Divide your class into groups of about five students each and have a Romeo and Juliet tweetup. Assign each group a unique hashtag (i.e. #chsenglit11 for CHS English Literature Period 1 Group 1). If you are using TodaysMeet, create a separate room for each group. Then assign each student a character from the play. Each group will be assigned the same set of characters. In our example, you will now have several groups with a Romeo, a Juliet, a Mercutio, etc. For the assignment, have the students tweet in character about important parts of the play or even tweet new scenes. A directive might be, “Tweet your characters thoughts immediately after Juliet’s wedding gets moved to the next morning (before she drinks the poison).” Make sure they tweet in the Shakespearean writing style! This assignment could be a one-time event or a continuous assignment throughout the entire unit of study.
How have you used social media in the classroom? Please post a comment below. Thanks for reading the educational technology blog Teach Amazing!