Using the Little Blue Bird for ELS Classrooms
The use of technology in schools has become more and more present. Not only that, but to encourage students to learn, having extra resources for outside school helps a lot. Some people would think using Facebook is a bad idea, for some personal information is on Facebook. However how about Twitter?
Twitter can be used for many different things. You can share or read what others write in forms of Tweets, a 140 characters message you write. You can share tiny bits of information there, on link to a full article for example. It can be extremely pleasant, as you can ”follow” people who share the same group of interest as you do. You can also follow the news, companies or your favourite TV show Tweets, directly from your cellphone. Want to join or want more information? I’d suggest looking at Twitter’s Help Center.
However, how can something used mostly for what is mentioned above be useful for an ESL classroom? Well, by being creative for instance! There’s ton of activities you can do with you class, one of my favourite is to create a story. The first step is to create a private Twitter group, so that what is written is only seen by you and your class. Then, you begin a story using a Tweet, 140 character is really short! Then, students need to answer the tweet to continue the story. You assign one student per day, and by the end of the month you have a full-fledged story, written by the whole class! What you can do is also share links to practice texts online, resources or YouTube videos that you’ve shown to your class.
It can also be used to encourage students to learn English outside of class. For instance, you could give them an assignment where they need to follow someone (in English) about something that interests them (videogames, news channel, artists, etc.), and ask them to give you a report of what they tweeted during the month. If you want a clear picture of what it might look like, look at David Read’s article on Mobile ESL.
Another activity could be to share a new word every day and ask students to tweet an answer of what the word means. It’s a good plan to look at who participates and who doesn’t, and it helps student enrich their vocabulary. For more ideas on how to use Tweeter in class, look at this article.
Overall, Twitter can be a powerful tool in ESL classroom, in and outside classrooms. Motivation is an important point when looking at ESL language learning, and giving the proper tools to students so they can learn by themselves while they enjoy it can make the difference between them wanting to keep on learning, and them dropping English class as soon as possible