Why?  The classroom redefined. No longer just four walls. With tools such as Twitter, not only are we seeing students learn in deep and authentic ways, but the “walls” are being broken down and the playing field is becoming level and equitable for all learners. Twitter is allowing students to connect to curriculum in new and exciting ways. It is opening doors to students we once thought we might never reach. Twitter is giving voice to those that believed they didn’t have one and increasing confidence in those who were lacking faith in themselves, their abilities and their participation.

Who?  Using Twitter in the classroom is limited only by an educator’s imagination. Though many believe its limitations prevent valuable applications to an academic setting, teachers in the know have learned that using Twitter in education can establish a nurturing classroom for students of all ages. Remember that there are specific age restrictions for having a Twitter account. It is not intended for personal use by children under the age of 13. Thus, for student use in the classroom, it is best used by middle school students and up. For elementary classrooms, most certainly a Twitter account can be used and managed by the teacher and integration can be controlled.

Ways Twitter can be used!

1) Twitter is a great tool for students to create summaries to reading assignments. Given the character limits, now 280, it forces a greater focus on the quality in the writing. Students need to be more precise in their responses, direct in their thinking and remove “clutter” from the message.

2) When studying new topics, no matter the material, students can learn from students in remote locations. Want to better understand how earthquakes can impact local environments? Connect with students living in earthquake zones to understand how they manage their daily lives. Want to learn about the local history of a given location, reach out to students in geographically diverse classrooms to get first hand feedback and information.

In fact, Twitter has already proven itself to be an important source of updates and information, especially when there has been a global event. Folks “on the ground” are able to tweet real-time feedback to help connect people to events.