When people usually think of Twitter, things like celebrities, hashtags, and/or rabid Justin Bieber fans often come to mind. However, rarely are words like “school” or “education” ever associated with Twitter, and frankly, rarely with any social media site. At the beginning of the school year, when my English teacher first started telling us to make social media accounts for Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and many other sites, I was a little confused on what he was doing. Like many parents and teachers out there, I never thought that these social media sites could help us in any way with school, except to maybe like message a friend to ask him about the homework or use Facebook groups to collaborate on a project.
A few weeks ago, my English teacher announced that we were going to use Twitter in class to discuss Hamlet, the play we were reading at the time. My confusion and skepticism reached an all time high. How is this going to help us…? But when he started explaining how are tweets could be a sort of new form of class discussion, I finally understood where he was coming from. By hosting a group Twitter chat with a certain hashtag, everyone in class could get on the school’s Chromebooks and start tweeting out answers to questions about Hamlet that he could tweet. It would be a great way to get everyone involved and discussing the book, without the interruptions, fighting, and craziness that often takes place with socratic seminars. He could tweet out questions regarding certain plot elements, important quotes, favorite scenes, or stylistic topics, and we could all answer him (and have the rest of the class see the whole discussion) in a simple manner. Everyone could see what other people posted, and overall, it would be a very different, but fun and beneficial way to have a class discussion.
My favorite part of the Twitter chat was definitely when someone would tweet out a funny answer, everyone would see it, and then all laugh at the same time. It was a fun experience, and definitely a great way to hold discussion on books we’re reading in class. Of course, actual class discussions and socratic seminars go a lot more in depth into topics and should definitely still be done, but doing a Twitter chat everyone once in a while is a great way to get everyone participating and enjoying what we all have to offer.