Ella Bowling's seventh grade science class has something to tweet about. It's their use of the popular social networking site, Twitter, in the classroom.
Bowling, who teaches at Mason County Middle School, said she had heard about colleges and even the Kentucky Department of Education using Twitter in order to share information. Most of Bowling's students have cell phones and use Twitter or other sites regularly.
"I know in the past we have been so afraid of using social media and have discouraged it," Bowling said in an email sent to MCMS coworkers. "But, it's like they always say, if you can't beat them, join them! Students are going to use social media so why not find a way to get them to use it for an educational purpose!"
Bowling's first use of Twitter came in the format of a review she had Dec. 14 for a unit test. Approximately 40 students from two "teams" logged on to take part. Bowling put out questions and tweeted pictures of graphs the students might see on the test.
"The kids had to answer the questions," she said. "They loved it. They thought it was the best thing ever for a review."
Students participated by using the hash tag #mcmsscience in their tweets, Bowling said.
Bowling said several students told her they would likely not have studied if it had not been for the Twitter review.
The average grade for the test was 87 percent, Bowling said.
"I was pretty pleased with that," she said.
Bowling has established a permanent Twitter account for her students. The ID for the account is @mcmsscience. During Christmas break, Bowling has tweeted vocabulary words the students will see in the next unit as well as videos they might find useful.
"There are several of them that are checking it out," she said.
Bowling intends to utilize Twitter even more in the classroom when students return from Christmas break. Bowling said students will be asked to post on the Twitter account about the things they are doing in class. She has two iPads plus access to iPods so that students can take pictures and immediately post to the Twitter account.
Bowling said if other teachers are interested in learning how to use Twitter in the classroom that she would be willing to do a session after school one day in January.