Now that school’s back in session, I can finally start blogging about some really educational stuff (not that meeting Paleo authors wasn’t cool or anything).
For the past semester, I’ve put an emphasis on showing student working during instruction. Since I don’t have the luxury of a document camera in my classroom, which would make projecting student work a cinch, I thought of using Twitter and my own smartphone instead, along with my computer and digital projector, to project student solutions for everyone to see. Basically, when students are working on solving a problem that I’ve posed, I circulate and identify one or two solutions that I feel would be worth sharing to the whole group. Using my phone, I take a picture of the solutions, upload them to a Twitter account that I use for this kind of thing, and then display the tweet and photo using my computer.
There are many advantages to displaying student thinking for all to see – it doesn’t have to involve Twitter: (1) often there are a variety of ways to approach a math problem, so showing some off and discussing them sends the message that there is never one correct way to go about solving a problem; (2) I have found that students are more likely to look at someone else’s work than the work that a teacher puts up; (3) students, especially those who haven’t historically felt much success in math class, are eager to have their work shown off and are proud when their work has been chosen as the focus of discussion; (4) it gives students more of a voice during a lesson; (5) students can always look at the Twitter account from their own devices/computers at a later time to look at some sample work.
I envision this idea of using Twitter to show student work expanding in a 1:1 iPad or BYOD (bring-your-own-device) environment where all students have some kind of a mobile device. Each student can create a class-specific Twitter account and can then use their own devices to take photos and upload their work to share, rather than having the teacher do it. A hashtag could be used to make finding student tweets easier.
From my 5 months of experience using Twitter to show student work, I have found it to be very effective in hooking students and also sharing quality work amongst everyone. I would recommend others to try this out, especially if you don’t have a document camera. I think there’s also a mild cool factor that attracts the students because it involves Twitter, something that’s pretty hip with the young ones these days. If anyone can think of a way to show student work using SnapChat, send me an email,