Great way to connect with students & families
Twitter gets a lot of negativity, mostly because it is so public, and I do suggest to my students that THEIR profiles and tweets stay private. It certainly opens up a dialogue in class about digital footprints and responsible social networking. I like to find the things my kids already like and use in their personal lives and use them as learning tools so that students start to see that learning can happen anywhere, anytime--Twitter is great for that.
How I Use It
Twitter has become an essential tool for teachers, clubs, teams, and other organizations at my school. I use Twitter to build my classroom community, sending out tweets that reinforce the relationships we develop in class as well as functional tweets to keep students informed. I figure, they are already using Twitter, so if I pop up in their feed from time to time, it gives me a chance to connect with them in that sometimes-elusive "thirdspace" they talk so much about.
My favorite Twitter uses:
(1) Live-tweeting events with my students! During the presidential debates, my students and I tweeted rhetorical devices and fallacies the candidates used.
(2) Sharing photos of class work such as posters students make
(3) Sharing community-building photos, such as the ones I took on Halloween when kids dressed up with punny costumes!
(4) Sharing articles or other school-related info I find about my students, such as a mention of a student's performance in a play or game, as a method of giving out kudos
(5) Sharing personal photos (occasionally) to help kids connect better with me
(6) Tweeting links to Google Docs and websites kids need for their work in my class
(7) Updates and reminders about class happenings
(8) Daily tweet containing a link to the day's lesson plan on my blog