Nowadays, the social media is everywhere--facebook, twitter, delicious, myspace, etc. Students are using it constantly throughout the day-----except in school. Teachers spend a good amount of their time at the beginning of the year addressing this. The basic rule is "if I see you using your phone, I will take it." Why not take this technology and use it to a teacher's advantage by delivering instruction through tools kids know and love. If fact, the students are more likely than not more proficient in this area than the teachers!
Fortunately, this is slowly changing as more teachers experiment with bringing fully accessible technology into their classrooms. In this post, I will be addressing the use of TWITTER in the classroom. CNN (Cable News Network) did a report on how one teacher in LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) is working wonders in his high school history class through the use of TWITTER. Please note that all of his students are ELLs and that he teaches in one of the district's poorest areas-East Los Angeles. His enthusiasm for his subject area and the vehicle through which to pass his excitement about it to his students is present in every corner of the room. The kids love what they are doing and everyone--from the noisiest to the shyest--are fully engaged in submitting tweets on any subject area he elects to teach. A limitation of 141 characters lowers anxiety on the part of ELLs since they don't have to write a lot and here abbreviations are fine. Click on this link to see him in action: TWITTER AS A LEARNING TOOL.
What else could be done with TWITTER? How about vocabulary review games? Accessing prior knowledge before a teacher starts a lesson to see just how much students already know or don't. What about having students take on roles of characters in novels they are ready and having those "characters" send out tweets on their positions, feelings, plans, etc.? If it is geography class, what about tweeting reasons to visit a country, or scale a mountain, or save Antarctica, or save the planet, etc. ? Further, teachers can either save the tweets and print them out for future reference in the class OR, in the interests of saving trees, send students to the class twitter page to review tweets already submitted.
In this day of social media, teachers should be encouraged and supported by administration to step outside their safety zones and try something new and exciting.
Enjoy the video. I certainly did and will be giving a presentation at a high school on this after the winter break.
ELL TEACHER PROS
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