Live Tweeting a Lesson

In his book, Teach Like A Pirate, Dave Burgess asks, “Do you have any lessons you could sell tickets for?” Ever since Twitter Math Camp, where live-tweeting is the norm, I’ve been wondering, “What would it look like if my students live-tweeted during a class period?” Will they post pictures? Quotes of things I say? Quotes of classmates? Key math concepts learned? Will they ask me questions???

What is live-tweeting?
“Live Tweet (v.): to engage on Twitter for a continuous period of time—anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours—with a sequence of focused Tweets. The focus can be a big live event that everybody’s paying attention to (e.g. a TV show or an award show) or it can be an event you create yourself.”

Initial Thoughts:

  • I’ve already created a teacher twitter account for my students to follow. I’ll be using it to tweet homework assignments, class reminders, and answer questions after school hours.
  • Students who don’t have a twitter account will be able to hand-write tweets.
  • I would spend some class time reviewing what live-tweeting is… maybe provide a storified example of when one of their favorite music artists live-tweeted a concert, and also provide an example I create pretending to live-tweet a math class. The goal here is to model effective and appropriate live-tweeting.
  • We will decide upon a class hashtag so that we can all follow along. Something like #MHSmath (hopefully more creative). This way they don’t even have to tweet directly at me, and I can scan my phone during the lesson to see what they’re thinking.
  • At a few key moments during the lesson, I will pose a question for students to answer via tweets. Since I’ll be on my phone too, I will use their responses to formatively assess how everything is going. The rest of the time, they are on their own to tweet as they wish.

Educational Benefits:

  • Student Engagement
  • A documented snapshot of the lesson for students to review when studying for an assessment
  • A way for students to “speak up” and ask questions they otherwise might not have asked
  • Showcase of student creativity and expression


  • Will the WiFi cooperate on the day we want it to?
  • What if they are too embarrassed to do it? Twitter is really big at my school. My students have A LOT of followers. If I ask them to tweet using a math hashtag, and they do it, are their friends going to make fun of them?
  • I have three sections of Algebra 1, and two sections of Algebra 2. Will students read their classmates’ tweets before even coming to class? Is this even a bad thing? Or does it build anticipation?
  • What if they tweet something inappropriate? Do I stop the tweeting right then and the phones go away? Probably. We’ll have this discussion prior to the lesson.
  • Will my school support this idea? Our policy states it is up to the discretion of the teacher when using technology, as long as there is an educational purpose. Are my reasons above enough? Can you think of more?

This idea is definitely a work in progress… I’d love to hear your thoughts.


5 thoughts on “Live Tweeting a Lesson

  1. Heather, I definitely want to hear how this goes. This is a topic that a colleague and I have discussed at much length. I see live tweeting as part of the engagement process when I’m at a conference, but he argues that the students would come at it from a very different perspective since they aren’t necessarily self-motivated to learn the information being presented. I’m truly interested to hear what results you get and would consider trying it myself if you find it to be a positive experience (though I’d have to fight my administration hard on it).

  2. I’m curious to hear how this goes, as well. I would really love to be able to use social media as an avenue of engaging my students in what’s happening in the classroom, as a way for them to share with the world what they’re doing at our school, and as a means to teach and model digital citizenship. I’ll definitely be tuned in to see how this turns out if you get to try it!

  3. Heather, I think this is a great idea and one that will result in high student engagement. With middle school students we used the website Today’s Meet to have group chats. Overall I was pleased with their posts and how they shared ideas / finds throughout the lesson and they loved “chatting” throughout class. Your concerns are valid but I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Can’t wait to hear how this goes! Keep your pirate hat on and take the risk!

  4. Jami and Jeff, I’ll definitely keep you posted! My admin just gave me the go-ahead to give this a try in September. I’m very excited to see what happens!

    Lydia, thanks for sharing Today’s Meet. I definitely think they will love chatting and be very engaged doing this. Hopefully they still absorb the important info!

  5. Heather, I admire your spirit! I would be concerned though, that the students are actually retaining from the lesson what it is you want them to retain, and not just the live-tweet experience. I would love to hear how this goes, because I would love to try it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s