Throughout my student teaching, my coordinator would warn all of us about the risks of communicating with students online. When I began my first teaching job, social media and communicating with students online was taboo. Teachers have all heard the horror stories about student accusations and risks associated with communicating with students via technology. My students would always want to be my Facebook friend, and I would always decline the offer. I made sure my pictures, comments, and my entire online world was on lockdown.
Now, throughout this program, I’ve been developing an online presence that is open and viewable by students, potential employers, and anyone who wants to research me. I read an article on Edutopia that teachers came together on Twitter to discuss the Presidential election with students. My students, in the past, would always ask me if I tweet. I always laughed and thought it would be ridiculous if I did simply because the only people that would follow me would be my students. But, tweeting about technology and thought-provoking issues that extend beyond the classroom walls provides an excellent way to engage students. As long as your Twitter is strictly professional and does not include personal commentary, then tweet away!
This school’s forum for the Presidential election became very popular. The article said, “The feedback so far has been positive. Students value the fact that we embrace 21st century media, and they enjoy hearing different perspectives about the issues.” Even though this high school is a top vocational academy with academically excelled students, there were tweets from many outside contributors, such as parents, alumni, and teachers from different schools. Technology teachers need to engage students by familiarizing the students with popular culture. Twitter is popular culture right now!