Nowadays, kids of all ages have cell phones and spend a great deal of time on them using social media: twitter, facebook, texting, instant messaging, wikis, iphoto, youtube, etc. However, when they come to school, teachers spend a good deal of time reminding students to put their phones away or set them on vibrate.
Cell phones are called smart phones for a reason--they are basically pocket sized computers! If school districts would promote a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, every student would have access to the internet and all the forms of social media that come with it.
In this post, the key focus will be on TWITTER. Why TWITTER? For English language learners especially, the limit of 140 characters is not intimidating. Further, shy students will probably feel more comfortable sharing their ideas since no talking is involved. Every student can participate with ease and the teacher (as well as the entire class) can watch the twitter feed on the screen. What a great way to excite students about sharing their opinions with the world!
See what students think in these two videos.
TWITTER IN HIGH SCHOOL
Here students share how much more involved they feel in their learning now. Students are actively engaged in their non-elective courses taking full advantage of tech tools. One item not mentioned is that assignments could also be saved on DROPBOX or in GOOGLE DOCS where they will be safe until the user deletes them.
KQED "DO NOW" AND BURTON HIGH SCHOOL
Here, KQED (San Francisco, CA) created "Do Now" activities for teachers to use at the start of class. Students pulled out their cell phones to respond (tweet) to the topic of the day. A world audience is involved when a person sends out tweets. Students were amazed that people around the world were sharing ideas with them.
If using twitter is a problem at your site, offer to pilot using it for a semester, keep records of the student involvement, note increases in grades, and annotate student change in attitude about being in school. Share with administration and hope for the best:)
ELL TEACHER PROS