How-To: Use Twitter with Your Students

By Monica Burns 06.29.2015 blog

Developing digital skills in students is essential for teachers across the content areas. Students need experience putting real world tools into action. Educators can use social media platforms like Twitter to spark discussions about digital footprints, increase opportunities to communicate with the real world and share work with large audiences.

Twitter is a micro-blogging site that lets users post as frequently as they would like but limits them to 140 characters. Each tweet can include text, a link to a website, an image or a combination of the three. It also allows users to mention other user’s Twitter handles to link back to their page or previous tweet. Many journalists, thought leaders and everyday people use this platform to communicate and share ideas.

Getting Started

Using Twitter with your students can take a variety of forms. To get started you may want to provide background and context for students on the history of Twitter and the way it is being used around the world. Many students see Twitter as something celebrities and athletes use, but it has also been a platform for social movements and on the ground reporting.

Twitter in Action

Teachers can use Twitter in different ways depending on the assignment, school culture and access issues in your building. Students might compose mock tweets using the 140 character format as an exit slip. They might also use a class account to share feedback with an author, journalist or political figure. If students are allowed and able to make their own Twitter accounts, they might use it as a back channel for class discussions using a particular hashtag. Here is a list of activities that you can use to include Twitter in your instruction:

Tweeting Social Studies Activities

  • Faux Tweets: If setting up a class Twitter account doesn’t sound doable you can have students write in a format that mirrors a tweet. This could be an imagined dialogue between two historical figures where they use what they’ve learned about a topic to create a mock discussion.
  • Reading Response: Ask students to respond to a current events article they have read in 140 characters or less. You might give students a specific prompt to work off of or ask them to locate and mention the Twitter handle of someone who would be interested in their response.
  • Hashtag Connections: If your students are tweeting off of their own school accounts, ask them to include a hashtag that is specific to your class. It could be something like a classroom number and class period or a creative choice that will resonate with them. This way you and your students can easily search through all of your class’ tweets using the hashtag.

Have you tried using Twitter in your classroom? Share your experience in the comments below.

Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.


  1. kfreitas

    Will definitely try this. I love the idea. My media center has a twitter account alread @PSMSMediaTech

  2. Terrence Littlefield

    I welcome the opportunity to being relevant devices and information to the classroom. What better resource than the mobil device. How could we regulate the unwarranted tweets. Policy and Procedure, we also need to convince older Admin of the benefits.Is there any data to support the wave?

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