by Nam Ngo Thanh
Expert Educator Columnist, Vietnam
I believe that application of social media in schools is not new to all of us. Educators are now using it to make the learning more exciting and meaningful.
At first, I was hesitant to use social media in my primary class but my perception on using it had change when I read this interesting statement from one of the websites in education:
“Twitter won’t change your life, but it might make your job more fun and a little easier.”
I was challenged with this statement and decided to immediately apply Twitter in my class, but few people told me that elementary school students are still too young to use Twitter. I totally agreed them so I thought of the safest and best approach that I can give to my primary students.
How did I begin this?
I started by sharing with my students the benefits of using Twitter. I also did not forget to mention how to use Twitter safely and efficiently. After the students have understood the uses of this social media, I continued with creating Twitter account. In the beginning, I created a Twitter account for the whole class: @mrnamclass. This means that any student in class also can sign in and use it. I also did not forget to remind the children to respect this account by not using for private work without the permission of the teacher. On the other hand, I also asked the help of the parents in monitoring and guiding their children in using the account. Everything seemed to be fine when this tool became my students’ favorite.
Students use Twitter for what?
The children can use Twitter as a tool for learning anytime and anywhere. Every time the children have activities at home, they can use the Tweet function to share with their classmates like a photograph, or a video recorded by them. After each Tweet, they do not forget to write her/his names at the end. Their friends can get this interesting sharing anytime. In fact, the children proved to be extremely fascinated with this new job.
In addition, Twitter is also the tool to share tasks and lessons. By using the #hashtag, students can find resources related to the lessons. Therefore, I did not forget to instruct students to use the search function of Twitter. With #hashtag, I can easily get a comment, question or feedback from my students. I make sure that our #hashtag is unique so it can easily be searched. I created a #hashtag for my class that has never been created by someone else before.
One more question is what students can do with 140 characters allowed in Twitter? To me, this is not a disadvantage but rather an opportunity for developing students’ writing skill. Wanting to get a perfect Tweet, students have to choose the appropriate words and most concise expression. With this way, day by day, writing skill of the students will be more advanced.
Above are a few of my ideas in using Twitter in the classroom. What I can say after my students’ work with Twitter? It’s really fun! Not only the students but also parents also love with this new tool.
Nam Ngo Thanh (@mrnamvas) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Hello everyone. I am Ngo Thanh Nam. I’m now grade 5 teacher at Vietnam Australia International school at Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. I participated in Teacher with creativity contest in Vietnam and luckily achieved the first prize. After the event, I am known more with the job of technology-applied teaching and I’m greatly interested in those wonderful things. I love teaching that has the interaction between teacher and students, all of which generates more interest and inspiration for my job. Besides, I’m also the educational specialist this year. It’s spectacular to work and learn from other specialists. My sincere thanks to Microsoft.