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Twitter for Teachers: A Quick Start Guide

Twitter for Teachers: A Quick Start Guide
Technology is a growing part of the classroom, with tablets and smart TVs quickly integrating themselves into the curriculum. But fast-paced change – and the fact that students are often miles ahead of both teachers and parents when it comes to the latest apps and social networks – can intimidate even the most tech-savvy teacher.

Here’s a quick-start guide for teachers who are looking to incorporate Twitter into their classroom as a learning tool, without getting lost in the millions of tweets sent every day.

There are a variety of ways that teachers can use Twitter to augment their student’s time in the classroom, a number of which we outline below.

To broadcast

On the simpler end of the spectrum, Twitter can be used as a secondary, online bulletin board. As a teacher, you can create an account and invite your students to follow. Then, simply use the account to post due dates, changes in the schedule and other important information.

You could also use Twitter to broadcast links to additional reading that expands on the course content, or your own thoughts and opinions to help students understand complex topics.

To learn

Some teachers use Twitter not to connect to students directly, but to connect to other educators. There are several hashtags (such as #EdChat for general education discussions and #EdTech for insight into how education and technology overlap) that are useful for teachers who want to use Twitter as their own learning tool.

If used this way, Twitter can be valuable even if you can’t think of a single thing to tweet. It’s fine to create an account just to keep tabs on the resources shared by influential educators and within hashtags.

To discuss

If you and your students are pretty tech-savvy, you might want to make Twitter a central part of one or two of your lessons. You can create a central classroom account, and then invite students to connect. From there, you could host hashtag chats once a week to discuss certain aspects of the curriculum. This could be for extra credit, or could act as a substitute to in-class discussion in situations where in-class is not possible.

Resources for teachers

However you choose to use Twitter, it’s important that you have the right tools to make it make sense for you.

If you will be sending pre-scheduled content (tweeting reminders of due dates, for instance), you will probably want to use a scheduler tool like Buffer or HootSuite.

Be sure you check out Twitter’s advanced search to discover which hashtags and keywords are being used to discuss the education topics that interest you.

And to host a discussion, try a tool like Twubs so that you can monitor and archive the conversations.

(Teacher tablet image via Shutterstock)

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