Tag Archives: Students

Twitter in the Classroom – helpful or hurtful?

You can’t turn on the TV or read the news without hearing about more cuts to education or teacher layoffs. These continuing blows exacerbate the already overcrowded classrooms and further challenge teachers’ ability to reach students intimidated by the sheer class size and lack of personal interaction.  Enter stage right, Twitter to the rescue.

Twitter and other microblogging technologies are being used by teachers in K-12 and universities for many reasons yet, a top one is to increase student participation in classroom discussion. In the New York Times article on Speaking up in the Class, Silently, Using Social Media”, Trip Gabriel reports, “With Twitter and other microblogging platforms, teachers from elementary schools to universities are setting up what is known as a “backchannel” in their classes. The real-time digital streams allow students to comment, pose questions (answered either by one another or the teacher) and shed inhibitions about voicing opinions. Perhaps most importantly, if they are texting on-task, they are less likely to be texting about something else.”

By using Twitter in the classroom, teachers are re-engaging students, enriching the classroom discussion, igniting student debate, and increasing comprehension. In the article, “Tweeting Students Earn Higher Grades Than Others in Classroom Experiment, Paige Chapman of The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights a study on “The Effect of Twitter on College Student Engagement and Grades.  The results of this study shows students using Twitter earned grade point averages a half point higher than those not using Twitter.

Is it all upside? The jury is out.  The most critical issue voiced is the lack of context or analysis in a 140 character tweet.  Lack of context, worry about bullying, and general abuse of the tweeting are all concerns. When balanced with the upside it is worthwhile? Let us know your position and experience.  Post your thoughts here or to the Curriki Facebook page.

If you’re interested in exploring Twitter in the classroom or are new to Twitter, check out the great resources below to get you started and provide interesting ways to use Twitter and social media in your classroom.

Let us know your experiences and if you think Twitter in the classroom is helpful or hurtful.


Best Open & Free Educational Resources for Students

Photo by ~Brenda-Starr~ via Flickr Creative Commons


Share these top 10 Open & Free Educational Resource sites with your students: they are a great compliment to classroom instruction, and they can give students the opportunity to study personal interests in depth!

  • Curriki – Thousands of open educational resources for all subjects and grade levels for students to use in for personal pursuits or as support materials to what they are learning in class.
  • eThemes – “provides free, fast access to over 2,500 collections of websites, on topics ranging from Aerodynamics to Zebras and everything in between!”
  • FactMonster – Check facts quickly, and enjoy free access to encyclopedia, dictionaries, atlases, almanacs and more!
  • Finding Dulcinea – this website is a wonderful curated collection of best-of-web sites for kids with many excellent resources for elementary, middle and high school students. Upperclassmen especially should check out these guides for Applying to College!
  • Illuminations: Resources for Teaching Math – Filled with activities, lessons and links to math websites and study guides, this is a great resource for students looking to increase their math skills at any level.
  • Internet Public Library – An extensive online public library, this is a great research tool for students. The library also hosts collections devoted to kids and teens.
  • Khan Academy – Thousands of videos that provide a full course on instruction in a variety of topics, from social studies to statistics.
  • Learning Science – A fabulous site for science learners of all ages. This website contains an array of science websites and interactive simulations for students and teachers.
  • Open Learning Initiative – Carnegie Melon University is offering free courses in French, Physics through this initiative. Students may take an entire course, or access relevant topics for help in their own studies.
  • Shmoop – Free, student-friendly and jargon-free study guides in subjects ranging from Shakespeare to Economics and everything in between.
  • Thinkfinity Student Resources – A project of the Verizon Foundation, this website contains loads of interactive lessons, simulations and more, all easily searchable by grade level and subject area.
  • Wolfram MathWorld – This excellent, free resource from Wolfram can answer any question you have about mathematics, from arithmetic to linear algebra and beyond.

Hey, students! What open & free educational resources do you use? Let us know!


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Photo by ~Brenda-Starr~ via Flickr Creative Commons