Friday, January 8, 2016

Using Social Media to Conduct Classes After Hours

Several brick and mortar teachers are joining with my online US government students to conduct a class with Twitter during the State of the Union.  For English teachers who find that reading is best done in class, Twitter could be used conduct a classroom discussion as the "homework" part of the class.  Below are the steps explaining how to do it.
  • We pick a hashtag which our students include in every post.  It can be as simple as #schoolnamegovclass.  Here is what we used last year. 
  • We require the students to make three comments during the debate and tell them that school rules apply (ie language, etc.).   Our kids like to see that we are trending so they do far more comments (20-30) and stick around the entire debate.  
  • The teachers teach!  This means you might say that some candidates are already running very low on funds or that the polls are great, but the goal is to win delegates. Having more than one teacher in on the debate makes for a richer discussion.  
  • I use TweetChat (which can be synced to your Twitter account) so I can see the comments from the other students and easily enter in my own. Assume the kids can see all of the comments and know how to follow the discussion.  I also usually watch the debate/State of the Union on my laptop as well and split my screen as you can see from the video above.  
  • What about the kids who don't have Twitter!  I use TodaysMeet which lets you set up a Twitter like screen that does not require a login/password.  It really feels like Twitter and is a great alternative for younger students.   

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