How can teachers inspire kids to participate more in classroom lessons and activities? Why not weave into class the writing tools with which they are already quite familiar with (unlike many of their teachers)---TWITTER and FACEBOOK? These writing tools will enhance any subject area by offering students a variety of ways to express what they know. In many cases, the students will quickly see that they may have more expertise in the use of social media than their teachers possess. Imagine--students will be in a position to support non-tech teachers in delivering lessons:)
Why not let fakebook (fake FACEBOOK) occasionally replace the traditional book report? Students could even work in teams as they look for documents to upload, videos (their own or ones from the internet), create "friend" postings or comments, add "current day" historical events in timelines, etc. Students will exhibit real enthusiasm as they work with familiar devices to demonstrate their understanding of the topic. Of course, teachers may wish to see the video first before they launch into any project.
Another fun learning tool which is surfacing in classrooms of late is TWITTER. For using twitter in the classroom, teachers need to prepare students for the task of completing concise statements. After all, it take some practice to keep comments down to 140 characters. That being said, young people are fast learners, and since many of them are already using smartphones, learning how to effectively use TWITTER should not take too long:) All class tweets would be kept within the class account so that there is a record of everything shared in the lesson. Students could later on refer to them in doing future assignments or to review from in preparing for tests.
The New York Times Learning Network offers more creative uses of TWITTER in the classroom. A less is more with twitter approach will have students see quickly that there is merit in being succinct in their writing.
ELL TEACHER PROS
Follow us on TWITTER @ell_teacherpros