By Tarun Patel
The Internet has brought in a “revolution” as far as information exchange is concerned. It has helped people reach any corner of the world “in fractions of a second”, advertise online, sell their stuff and more.
Along with all these the education is the sector which has gained a big momentum with the evolution of Internet.
Google – the search giant has equipped the educators with superb tools which help us be “more” effective in the classroom. All the Google’s educational tools can be explored at http://www.google.com/educators/tools.html. Google’s tools help us even keep in touch and keep educating our learners from anywhere “online” .
I will explore all Google for Educator tools sometime late, today I would like to share a new social networking application that could help us improve our students’ English to a greater extent.
The name of the application is Twitter
Twitter is a privately funded startup with offices in the SoMA neighborhood of San Francisco, CA. Started as a side project in March of 2006, Twitter has grown into a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices.
In countries all around the world, people follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens—from breaking international news to updates from friends.
Twitter is a free service that asks one question, “What are you doing?” Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web. These short messages are called “Tweets”. Tweets can be read via email, instant messages, text messages on a mobile phone, or on the Web.
Educators and Twitter
Teachers can utilize Twitter in several ways.
1. We can make timely announcements without need for reliable Internet service. It hardly takes a second for a message to appear on Twitter.
2. We can have batter connections with our learners.
3. It can prove a big time saver for the students as they don’t have to visit the blog / website on a daily basis.
ELT and Twitter
Now comes the role of Twitter in helping our students be better users of English language.
How can I do that? The biggest problem with the ESL students is the correct usage of English language. They are not able to use correct English as they “do not” use enough of English everyday.
This is how we can make them use English and improve upon.
Ask your students to answer the question”What are you doing?” on Twitter 15 times a day. Review all their answers everyday and offer corrections as and when required.
Your students will answer the question”What are you doing?” in these manners.
When he / she is reading, he / she would write “I am reading my textbook now”.
When he / she is chatting, he / she would write “I am chatting with my friend on Yahoo! messenger”.
When he / she is about to close the Internet connection, he / she would write “I am shutting down my computer now”.
In the above manner they would keep writing and with the correct usage of the English language they are bound to make the mistakes too. Correct them by posting their original answer as your tweet and the correct version of their sentence below.
This can definitely help improve the language usage of our students.
With Twitter we can easily help improve our students improve upon all kinds of language functions.
Here I would like to request you to read a case study in which a Saudi Arabian teacher explains how he experimented with Twitter and shares his research results. A link to this case study is given at the end of this article.
So friends, this is what I have discovered with this messaging technology, and I am sure that many of you would come forward with some better ideas
Here are two videos showing the ways to using Twitter:
Video#1: How to use Twitter
Video#2: Using Twitter for EdTech Networking
In this video Steve Dembo discusses Twitter as a networking tool for the educational community.
Other Twitter Related Links