After reading my text book about Twitter and watching several YouTube videos to get a basic idea of how it works, I decided to ask the real experts: my students! They know I am taking an on-line class to learn about technology and have been very supportive. I asked them if they use Twitter and almost to a student they all told me it was a waste of time. The only people who use it, they claim, are interested only in following Hollywood stars or sports players. Hum, lots of room to grow! But how?
So back to the internet I went to find out how 21st century social studies teachers are using Twitter. Here are some ideas that I will add to my bag of tricks: following historical figures, gathering real-world data, interesting facts, temperatures/precipitation of cities around the world. How about following government figures? Students could tweet inspirational quotes of the day. I could assign each student one section of a chapter to summarize in 140 characters or less--forcing a focus on quality. I could assign pairs of students to produce a Tweet dialogue between two opposing characters about a key issue--constitutional convention tweets over slavery, Grant and Lee over terms of surrender, Khrushchev and Kennedy over Cuban Missiles, for example. Students could be asked to summarize a topic/concept/viewpoint as a Tweet; each student would be given a different one to focus on. Every day a student could be assigned the Tweet of the Day--they could post a helpful study skills tip, a historical fact or geographic fact they want to share. I loved the idea of a Scavenger Hunt having students find websites, pictures, or other on-line documents that fit a certain criteria, have them post the links to Twitter and once posted, it could not be posted by another group.
Sure beats the Kardashians or the Dallas Cowboys!