Still skeptical about the value of using Twitter as a tool to engage introverted students in classroom lessons? You’re not alone. A recent survey of almost 2,000 teachers found that half think that using Twitter (and Facebook) in the classroom “is harmful to the learning experience.” But, Los Angeles history teacher Enrique Legaspi disagrees with the naysayers. Last year he went to a workshop that discussed ways to use Twitter in teaching and now his students—even the shy ones—at Hollenbeck Middle School in East L.A. are speaking up more.
In the video above, you can watch Legaspi teach a World War I lesson, and hear him explain how Twitter has revolutionized discussions, helped him know more about his shy students, and modify his instruction to meet their needs. What’s especially cool is that instead of banning smartphones from his class, Legaspi has a BYOT—Bring Your Own Technology—policy so that his students, who are mostly Latino and from low-income neighborhoods, can get online and tweet comments or questions. If they don’t have their own device, they get to use the computers in the classroom. Their responses are projected onto a digital chalkboard that the whole class can see. As 14-year-old student Oscar Lozoria shares, the social media service has helped him find his voice and have the courage to share his opinions.