Students are always at the forefront of the latest technology and online social media but how can we as teachers use this to our advantage to engage students? To most of you reading this through Twitter or WordPress, it’s nothing new to you what’s Hashtag is. But recently I’ve started to use them more and more in my lessons and using my departments Twitter page to get students tweeting and talking about Science outside of the classroom.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Mac Harasymiw and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.
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The relevance to your lessons
Things like this immediately gain student attention, and you can use this in a multitude of ways. Here’s a few things I’m doing now and then I’ll explain where I’m taking it.
How many times do you want students to include words from a keywords list in a written answer? Students like to engage with social media all the time, so why not integrate it into your lesson?
Put the hash symbol in front of you keywords when you display the list or print the list for students Starters/Plenaries – replying to a tweet or tweeting what you have studied this lesson. In most subjects, content tends to be associated with a specific famous person. A Scientist, Mathematician, Leader, Author etc can all fill this role.
Here’s my example for Science. I was teaching Y11 Unit 3 Chemistry about specific heat capacity. The objective was for the students to be able to describe how to measure it, knowing only a few basic ideas at the start of the lesson. So using this fantastic website ( LINK) you can make “fake” tweets from your famous person. In this case, James Joule, the person responsible for the unit of energy and calorimetry, a way of measuring S.H.C. Simply fill in the fields and upload a picture of the person for authenticity (also check the date!)
Here’s my example:
Instant lesson hook! Aim is the reply at the end of the lesson in less than 150 characters using as many #Keywords as possible. We then swapped and peer marked.
I shared this with some colleagues who also put it to use in different subjects;
“Tweet a reply to Field Marshall Haig, describing how awful conditions in the trenches are, use as many #keywords as possible”
“Tweet to Fibonnaci’s peers a simple guide to using his number series”
“Tweet to Jesus’ followers to tell them to have faith and know he will return”
All came back with positive learning experiences, please try it and let me know how you get on!
Taking it further
Dependent on your school’s view on Twitter (most schools have a twitter page, perhaps one for PE to update scores/results etc for fixtures) Why not have one for your department? Sharing with students and parents when revision classes are on, or after school clubs etc.
Although its a social network, twitter, the same way a school uses it, is faceless. You do not need to follow everyone back, they can see your tweets but you are not contravening any Code of Teaching practice by communicating to a large audience this way, as is the fear by several schools at the moment.
I want to try having a #HashtagOfTheWeek so my KS3 students can tweet replies to the dept. page as part of their H/W, obviously the hashtag changes by topic/week etc and there can be multiple ones.