One of my favorite teaching moments was when one of my students was wondering about Google Glass. This was not part of what we were teaching that day and I did not have first hand experience with Google Glass so I could not do it justice. I remembered that Adam Bellow wore Google Glass during his keynote at the ISTE conference.
So I tweeted @adambellow and asked if he could share with my class about Google Classroom. Within minutes he was video conferencing with my students answering their questions. Click Here for my video and blog post on this.
Class Twitter Handle
Consider creating a class Twitter handle. As the teacher you can choose who to follow to ensure that the stream of tweets are appropriate. Follow other teachers in your grade level or subject area to find ideas for projects and activities that interest your students. Following government agencies such as @NASA, @USGS, @NASAJPL or @NatGeo (National Geographic) can provide resources or inspire essential questions to spark student curiosity. Go to http://twitter.com and create an account just for your class. As a class you can read the Twitter stream of the people your class follows. Your class can also use the Twitter handle to share out the cool things they are learning and are excited about.
Students Drive the Lesson
Students are going to have a more personal connection to their learning when they have a voice. Using Twitter, Skype, or other social media to find an expert to answer student questions allows for student curiosity to drive the lesson. Even a few minutes or tweets with an expert can spark student curiosity to fuel their passion to find out more.
Find an Expert
When students are wondering something, try to use social media to reach out to an expert in the field. Below is a link to a crowdsourced document. If you know any industry experts who might be receptive to responding to student tweets please add to the spreadsheet.
I would recommend that you locate experts to tweet. Since these are industry experts and not teachers there is not a guarantee their tweets are appropriate to project on the board to the class. Please review their twitter feed when considering reaching out to someone to ask them a question.
Without knowing a scientist you can put out a tweet with a request for a retweet in hopes of stumbling across a scientist. More effective is to ALSO check hashtags within the field the students need to connect with someone on.
#geologist has some geologist tweeting and sharing information. They may be willing to engage with your students to answer questions. Have your class Twitter account follow @USGS. They have some great tweets that would make excellent warm ups or project starters.
#scientist is more generic and has quite a few people just talking about scientists rather than being scientists, but this is still a good avenue for finding industry experts to ask questions.
#poet Careful on this one. Lots of people use the hashtag who are not poets.
Think of synonyms that might be used for hashtags.
Try the plural and singular form of the word #scientist #scientists.
Look for hashtags that are being used in your hashtag search. For example in looking up #geologist I found tweets that also used the hashtag #geophysist.
Hashtags are live hyperlinks. Click on the hashtags people are using to see what others are saying on that same hashtag.
Search for multiple hashtags. Searching for #entrepreneurship #business returns tweets that have BOTH hashtags. This can help narrow down your search.
Be more specific. Instead of just looking up #scientist try #datascientist.