Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Teachers Harness the Simple Power of Twitter

I had to share this great story of how one of our teachers took the initiative to bring down the four walls of the classroom and connect her students to others via social media. 

Last week, while visiting classrooms and tweeting the wonderful experiences our students were having, I tweeted this:

Students in Ms. Gannon's English 11 class were watching a TEDx Talk by Paul Piff titled, "Does Money Make You Mean?"

If the embedded video isn't visible on your device, watch the video here:

The first neat thing that happened was that Paul Piff "favorited" the tweet. Ms. Gannon, the English teacher, got to see that he "favorited" it since I had tagged her in the tweet, too. 

The next thing that happened was that Ms. Gannon's co-teacher, Mrs. Carey, emailed Paul Piff:

Good evening,  
As preparation for my co-taught English class's reading of The Great Gatsby, we watched your TEDTalk video, "Does Money Make you Mean?" Numerous students were intrigued by your research and I was wondering if you would be open to taking questions from students via Twitter as we explore social hierarchies and behavioral motivations while reading American literature. It is my hope that by combining the literature with research, we can add relevance and rigor to our lessons.  Tonight, students will be writing responses to your video and including questions it provoked. With your invitation, I would like to select some of the students to Tweet you their questions. I think it will add another dimension and increase engagement as we read about the Fitzgerald's 1920's. Does this sound like something you would be interested in?

Lisa Carey 
Instructional Support Teacher 
Hoover High School 


The next cool thing happened.

He emailed her back!

Hi Lisa,

That sounds like great fun! Count me in. The real challenge will be fitting the questions and answers into a terse 140 characters, but I'm up for trying.

Thanks for your interest in our research, and I'm so happy that the students found it interesting.


Ms. Gannon sent the following email to me this morning:

You tweeted about us watching the video; he “favorited” the tweet, and Lisa has found him, and we are going to set something up to send him questions.  How cool is this?

I was inspired by what they had done and felt compelled to share it with our teachers at Hoover High. I know there are still some teachers who don't see how twitter or social media can benefit them or their students. What Ms. Gannon and Mrs. Carey are doing is transformational. I hope that you are inspired, too!

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