How to Use Twitter with Elementary Students
Application of social media in schools is not new to all of us. Educators are now using it to make learning more exciting and meaningful.
At first, I was hesitant to use social media in my primary class but my perception on using it changed when I read this interesting statement from one of the websites in education:
“Twitter won’t change your life, but it might make your job more fun and a little easier.”
I felt challenged by this statement and decided to immediately apply Twitter in my class, but a few people told me that elementary school students are still too young to use Twitter. I totally agreed them, so I thought of the safest and best approach that I could give to my primary students.
How did I begin using Twitter with elementary students?
I started by sharing with my students the benefits of using Twitter. I also did not forget to mention how to use Twitter safely and efficiently. After the students understood the uses of this social media, I created a Twitter account. In the beginning, I created a Twitter account for the whole class: @mrnamclass. That meant that any student in class could sign in and use it. I also reminded the children to respect this account by not using it for private work without the permission of the teacher. I also asked for help from parents in monitoring and guiding their children in using the account. Everything seemed to be fine when this tool became my students’ favorite.
Students use Twitter for what?
The children can use Twitter as a tool for learning anytime and anywhere. Every time the children have activities at home, they can use Twitter to share things with their classmates such as a photograph or a video recorded by them. After each Tweet, they write their names at the end. Their friends can get this interesting sharing anytime. In fact, the children proved to be extremely fascinated with this new job.
In addition, Twitter is also a tool to share tasks and lessons. By using the #hashtag, students can find resources related to the lessons. Therefore, I instructed students to use the search function of Twitter. With #hashtag, I can easily get a comment, question, or feedback from my students. I make sure that our #hashtag is unique so it can easily be searched. I created a #hashtag for my class that has never been created by someone else before.
What can students do with only 140 characters allowed in Twitter?
To me, this is not a disadvantage but rather an opportunity for developing students’ writing skills. Wanting to get a perfect Tweet, students have to choose the appropriate words and most concise expression. With this way, day by day, writing skills of the students will become more advanced.
Above are a few of my ideas in using Twitter with elementary students. What can I say after my students’ work with Twitter? It’s really fun! Not only the students but also parents also love with this new tool.
About the Author
Nam Ngo Thanh is a 5th grade teacher at the Vietnam Australia International School at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He loves working with his students and is inspired by them every day. He is passionate about technology and enjoys helping teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms. Nam is both a Microsoft and ClassDojo Ambassador and can be found on twitter at @mrnamvas.