Yesterday, Holly Sutherland and I held a "Twitter 101" session in our school library. We invited teachers to drop in during their planning periods to learn more about Twitter.
We answered questions about hashtags, privacy settings, tagging, and twitter chats. We also shared ideas with teachers on how to use it in their classrooms and how we use it at our school.
On the heels of our "Twitter Day" and as we prepare for Digital Learning Day on February 5th, here are 4 ideas to connect students to the world:
1. Invite experts to tweet with your students. Create a hashtag by using your classroom number (#SHSA244 for “Smart High School, room A244”) or subject matter and period number (example: Eng11p3 for “English 11, period 3”), then share the hashtag with the experts. Which experts? Authors, college admissions, firemen, scientists in the field, entrepreneurs, TV hosts, chefs… ask your students with whom they want to chat and search for them on twitter.
2. Skype/Google Hangout/Facetime with a guest speaker. Artists, farmers, engineers, actors, coaches, and more. Hosting a guest speaker can add a real-world connection for you and your students. Finding a guest speaker from another country is an added bonus!
3. Use Google Docs to collaborate with classrooms across the globe. From peer editing, to sharing science data, to collecting data for a mock election like the one described here, Google Docs allow students to easily work together on a project.
4. Get your students blogging. Whether you start a class blog as a cooperative effort and allow all students to take turns contributing posts or if each student hosts his/her own blog, students can hone their writing skills and share their thoughts and ideas with the world.
Want to see some examples? Click here to find the landing page for high school English teacher David Theriault’s student blogs. When you click HERE to go to the home page of the blog, you will find featured blog posts from his students. Near the top of the home page, you can click the links to see listings for the individual blogs of all of his students. (I believe, as David does, that to make this work the teacher must blog, too. Here’s David’s blog: thereadinessisall.com)
Does the commercial below reinforce the belief that students need to make global connections?
The ideas above are just four of many. Try just one this semester and share with me your experience. I'd love to hear from you!