by Katy McDowall
Last week, I blogged about a recent study that presented potential pitfalls of using technology—laptops, tablets—in the classroom, focusing on how laptops affect students’ note taking. But that was just one slice of the pie, so to speak. There are a number of ways to effectively harness new technologies for classroom use. Take Twitter, for instance. Sure, the social tool certainly has the ability to consume students’ attention, but it can also be used to facilitate valuable discussions, both during and after class.
How can you start using Twitter (and other apps) in the classroom? Here are some resources to get you started:
- This article from The Atlantic introduces Chris Bronke, a ninth-grade English teacher in Illinois, who began using Twitter with his students last August to “make learning more social.” After school, his students pose questions, share photos of annotated texts, and discuss the works they are reading through tweets. By using the platform, he found his students were being “more careful and reading more closely.”
- The Huffington Post has a list of 10 steps to using Twitter in the college classroom. Written by Jason. A. Llorenz, senior fellow at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, the list includes creating a hashtag for the class and providing basic Twitter training. There are even some tips on how to integrate Twitter into grading.
- NPR has a great recent post on apps for the classroom, including Twitter. Other standouts include ClassDojo, which allows teachers to recognize and record students’ behavior. Good behavior earns points and a nice-sounding chime, while bad behavior results in losing points and a not-so-nice sound. The app works on smartphones and tablets—and even outdated browsers like Internet Explorer 8—and parents can sign up for notifications to see how their child is doing.