Since its creation 15 years ago, Twitter has radically transformed the dynamics of web 2.0 communication. With its emphasis on brevity and conciseness, Twitter became the top microblogging platform par excellence. The education community did not wait long to embrace this new technology. In fact, teachers and educators were among the first communities of practice to embrace the communicative strength of this microblogging space.
Much ink has been spilled on the use of Twitter in education. A simple search in Google using the phrase ‘Twitter in Education’ returns thousands if hits. My intent in this post is go beyond regurgitating what has already been written in this regard and rather provide you with innovative ways to use Twitter in your instruction.
Below are four key strategies that, I believe, have not received much attention in the edu-Twitter literature and which can tremendously help us, teachers and educators, better leverage the power of Twitter to enhance our teaching, learning, and professional development.
The list feature in Twitter is a great way to curate theme-focused content. Lists work in the same way as any content curation tool out there. You create a list, add members to it, and tweets from those members you added show up in the list feed. For instance, you can create a list labelled EdTech tools where you aggregate all your favourite Tweeters who share content related to educational technology. You can also create lists for you class and share them via generated links so that students can follow or take part in content curation. Alternatively, you can follow lists created by others. Here is how to create lists:
- Click on the Lists icon from the navigation bar on the left
- Click on the New List Icon on the top of the page
- Provide a name and a description to your list.
- Check whether you want to make your list private.
Watch the video below to learn more about how to create Twitter lists
This is a relatively new feature and is particularly ideal for creating stories around a particular topic. Twitter moments are “curated stories about what’s happening around the world”. You can use Moments for various educational purposes including building students awareness about current events or around an issue (e.g., the issue of refugees, racism, gendered violence, etc), sharing resources on a given research topic, showcasing positive learning stories to boost motivation, and many more. As the creator of the Moment you get to control its visibility. You can make it private, public, or unlisted. Here is how to create a Moment:
- In your navigation bar click on the three dots … and select Moments.
- Provide a title and short description to your Moment. You can also add a cover image to your Moment
- PopUlate your Moment with three kinds of Tweets: “Tweets I’ve liked: this will show all Tweets that you’ve liked. Tweets by Account: Use the search bar to search for Tweets to include from an account on Twitter. Tweet Search: Use the search bar to search for a specific Tweet or Tweets using a hashtag.”
- To add a Tweet to your Moment select it and click Add.
- Click Publish to publish your Moment.
Watch the video below to learn more about how to create Twitter Moments
Twitter Polls is a great way to conduct surveys and collect feedback. You can also use them as tools of formative assessment, to empower students voice by making them take part in decision making around issues pertaining to their class learning, and engage parents in their kids learning, and many more. You can include up to four choices in your polls, each choice has a maximum of 25 characters. You can determine the length of your poll with 7 days as maximum.You can also control who can reply to your polls. You can make it open to everyone, to people you follow, or to only those you mention. Here is how to create polls on Twitter:
- Click on the Tweet compose button
- Select Add Poll icon
- Type in your choices. Click on the plus sign to add more choices
- Determine the length of your poll and who can reply
- Click on Tweet to share it.
Watch the video below to learn more about how to create Twitter Polls