Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. But with student’s noses ever glued to their smart phones, the challenge of engaging students in the task of learning can often be a minute by minute battle for educators. But as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them! Thousands of institutions are now looking at ever more innovative ways to utilise social media as a tool to connect with students and bring the learning experience to them.
One simple way to begin doing this is through Twitter.
Engaging with your students this way need not be a daunting task and a quick 140 character message can prove hugely beneficial in helping learners feel more involved and connected. Twitter need not be complicated and can be used by institutions of any size; from universities sharing news of an international conference, to a tweet from the home learning tutor on the train with pointers about that week’s homework.
Twitter provides a great way to interact with students throughout the week in between formal learning. Pose questions to get students thinking around that week’s classroom
topic, encouraging them to remember and further process what they’ve learned. These can be rhetorical questions or discussion starters which encourage students to respond with their thoughts or opinions. This is a great way of encouraging your students to start thinking and connecting with each other outside of the classroom, encouraging a culture of continual learning.
Encouraging foreign language students to use social media in the tongue they are studying can be a great tool for language immersion. Regular tweets from you can help to fill their Twitter feed with foreign language items in between messages from friends at home. Post a word of the day for your students, encouraging them to find a way to use it in conversation. This can really highlight the practice of constant daily learning.
Remember Twitter is a conversation, so share the things that interest you and chances are they will spark the imagination of your students too. Sharing interesting online material is a great way of encouraging students to read around a subject and look beyond the designated reading list. A link shared on Twitter can be easily opened on a smartphone and read while traveling home on the bus after class.
Twitter is also perfect to share quick announcements, and can provide another method of letting students know about class cancellations or reminding them of exam times. You can use it to direct students to information on your website or learning platform, letting them know about new class material or school news. Information about outside conferences, talks, shows or other events is great to pass on to broaden students’ learning experience.
So whatever the size of your institution make sure you take this simple step to engage with your students where they are at. Connect, share and take learning to them.
Don’t forget to make sure to follow ASIC on twitter as we share lots of great links and info there.