There are many ways that educators today are using Twitter. One underrated aspect of Twitter for all users that has many benefits in the classroom is the ability to create lists. Lists can be incredibly useful for teachers, especially in secondary and higher education, for helping develop professionally as a well as building students’ skills in everything from language arts to STEM. Here are just a few ways to incorporate Twitter lists in your teaching practice:
Have Students Curate Their Own Lists: Having each student curate their own Twitter lists, related to a unit or class, is an excellent way to help make content relevant to each student, while teaching them how to evaluate online sources. A class on American history could be asked to curate a list relating to a specific time period, or a personal interest, such as Twitter feeds “from” famous historical figures.
Develop Lists for Further Reading: There is a lot of quality content on Twitter, with quality sources for every subject, so create a list for your class with up-to-the-minute updates from relevant organizations. It makes it easier to see how classroom learning relates to the real world if you have your Biology students follow the NIH and NOOA, for instance, to see science in action. American Studies students can connect to the Library of Congress, state historical sites, and the National Archives to discover unique information.
Have Students Create and Storify a List: Storifys built on Twitter lists are an excellent way to strengthen standards- based writing skills such as identifying main ideas. Storify is an application that allows users to build compelling stories from content they source on the web. It’s a wonderful tool for students struggling with writing skills to develop the ability to create focused narratives. Having students find resources on Twitter, build a list, and from there, create a Storify keeps the focus on narrative building, a writing skill that often lags behind sentence structure and grammar. A Twitter list of news outlets, for instance, can become a great Storify on current events in class.
Curate for Your Own Professional Development: As teachers, we often don’t have enough time to pursue our interests. Build a list of accounts that home in on your professional development, from subject-related to teacher-specific. Make a plan to read them, and delve into at least five tweeted resources, every week.
Keep in Touch with Colleagues: Teachers often use Twitter more than LinkedIn, so it’s a great place to connect with your colleagues. If you had a great conversation with other people at the table at your last conference, be sure to add them to a conference list. It’s an easy way to keep up with them, and facilitate connections. Be sure to add others who tweeted on the conference hashtag whose insights you enjoy. Who knows, you may have some great conversations. Also consider building twitter lists for local colleagues, making it easier to share insights and resources.
Become a Resource: If you’re known to geek out on 19th century British writers or geological formations of Australia, translate that in-depth knowledge into a resource for other teachers. Gather informative feeds on topics where you’re an expert, and make that list public.
Expand Your Horizons: So far, we’ve looked at ways that creating lists, or having students create them, makes good use of Twitter lists for teachers. But you don’t need to rely only on your own lists. Make a point to seek out lists that add value—it’s remarkable what you can find that someone’s discovered. Look at lists curated by people you respect on Twitter. Get students engaged in finding existing lists as well.
There are many ways to create, share, and curate valuable content on Twitter using lists. It can expand your students’ horizons, help connect classroom study to real-world practice, and allow students to express themselves in ways other than creating their own content. There’s no limit to what you can accomplish with Twitter lists in terms of using content creatively. So I’m asking: How have you been using Twitter lists in your classroom?