Social MediaConnectivismCrisis CommunicationSocial Learning

Twitter is a social networking tool that allows users to connect with people and explore topics of interest (#hashtags). There are more than 229 million daily active users on Twitter (source). Twitter users can read and write short messages (up to 280 characters) that are organized by hashtags (e.g., #education). While you might think that Twitter is just for celebrities and people who want to share photos of their lunch, it is actually one of the most popular professional learning tools for K-12 teachers. If you are struggling to get students to engage in conversations or to get full class participation, you might consider giving Twitter a try. It is a great tool for backchanneling, synchronous or asynchronous communication, and even conducting research.

Screenshot of Twitter user interface
Twitter user interface

Tool Snapshot

Price Free with ads
Learning Social constructivism, Connectivism
Ease of Use ★★★☆☆
Privacy ★☆☆☆☆
Accessibility ★★★★☆
Class Size Unlimited
ISTE*S Knowledge Constructor, Creative Communicator, Global Collaborator

Impact On Student Learning

Twitter functions characteristically as a social network linking effective tools including learner-based, assessment-centered as well as knowledge-based online tools for instructors and students without constraint of time and space. This is a great community-based tool to promote students’ learning, and thus improve their academic competency multiculturally, multilingually, entertainingly, educationally, effectively, and efficiently.


Free of charge for users, but there are sponsored advertisements. 


CEO: Jack Dorsey (see Twitter leadership team)


What data is collected? Twitter Privacy Policy. “What you share on Twitter may be viewed all around the world instantly. You are what you Tweet!”

Twitter requires age screening for preventing kids from inappropriate exposure within advertisement. Age screening on Twitter

How is data used? “We collect and use your information below to provide, understand, and improve our Services.”

What do the terms of service/ privacy policy say? Twitter Terms of Service

Power and Bias

How’s the tool biased? Twitter connects everyone across the countries anytime, but a small amount of users’ posting comments, information, video and photos are frequently found inappropriate in terms of violation of the twitter rules. Users can report inappropriate behavior on Twitter, see  How to report violations.

“My children, again, discipline me not to go on Twitter because apparently people say bad things about me on Twitter. But things like Twitter offer us the opportunity only to encounter views consistent with our own, 24 hours a day,” Comey explained at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event Wednesday.” FBI’s Comey: Twitter fuels ‘monster of a bias’

What type of power structure does the tool encourage? The Twitter Rules: “We believe that everyone should have the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. In order to protect the experience and safety of people who use Twitter, there are some limitations on the type of content and behavior that we allow. All users must adhere to the policies set forth in the Twitter Rules. Failure to do so may result in the temporary locking and/or permanent suspension of account(s).”

How’s diversity portrayed? Deemed as a community-based tool, Twitter incorporates diversity of globalized users.

“Twitter is a global social broadcast network that enables people and organizations to publicly share brief messages instantly around the world. The service can be accessed on the web at, on a wide variety of mobile devices and via text messaging. Available in more than 35 languages, Twitter has hundreds of millions of active users.” Encourage Twitter literacy

What type of language is used? Twitter allows users to change language settings. Twitter is available in more than 35 languages.


Twitter is a community-based tool for social networking like Facebook, it takes time for users to learn how to navigate Twitter and become experts in Tweeting, Retweeting, using hashtags, and following people or information. Tweeting The Twitter glossary

Access: Twitter can be access on iOS and Android devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and desktop computers.

Workflow: Twitter allows users to download their archive.

Twitter Overview Video

Watch on YouTube

Twitter & the SAMR Model

Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model offers a lens for examining how technology is adopted in a classroom. As you strive to incorporate online tools into your classroom, we encourage you to use this model as an analytic tool.

Learning Activities


Students learn about improper fractions as mixed numbers and use Twitter hashtags (e.g.,#6thgrademath, #improperfractions, #mixednumbers) to connect with subject matter experts and host a public twitter chat about the topic.


Science instructor conducts group discussion regarding climate change in the 5th grade classroom using hashtag #greenhouseeffect,#extremeweather, #mothernature, #PlanetCrisis, #ClimateAction and #endangeredspecies on Twitter chat before group discussion. Students can learn from science experts on Twitter regarding focused topic by means of shared comments and feedback, and bring information engaging in group discussion afterward.   

English/Language Arts

Teachers guide students to create picture books from Storybird, and then share their products on Twitter, using hashtags #storybird, #picturebooks, #Englishreading, #Englishwriting, and #comments4kids, inviting the public to give comments and offer their thoughts. Students revise their picture books based on the feedback they receive.


Instructor conducts astronomy class for students exploring Mars using Twitter hashtags. For example, students type #MARS, #Marslanding, #NASA, #Curiosityrover and #Astronomy for Twitter chat.


PE teacher provides students with information about baseball, basketball, and history of NBA, as well as MLB, before peer discussion. Students examine relevant Twitter hashtags, including #MLB, #NBA, #mlbhalloffame, #nbahalloffame, #chicagocubs, #nbabraves, #nbaplayoff, and #mlbstars, to expand their knowledge of these topics . They learn how become a baseball or basketball expert by giving and receiving comments through Twitter chat. Students use collected information to engage in peer discussion about why baseball and basketball bring joyfulness to American life.


How to Use Twitter

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Sign Up” and register for an account
  3. Return to Twitter and login
  4. Setup your profile page
  5. Click on the egg icon in the top right corner (next to the “Tweet” button)
  6. Click on “Edit profile”
  7. Add a photo and/or short bio
  8. Research hashtags (#) to find people to follow
  9. Use an Internet Search Engine to identify hashtags (e.g., “Top 3 hashtags for science education”)
  10. Return to Twitter and type one of the hashtags into the search engine
  11. Browse tweets
  12. Follow 3-4 individuals who you find fascinating
  13. Write a tweet
  14. Click the “Tweet” button in the top right corner
  15. Add text (less than 140 characters)
  16. Include a hashtag related to your tweet to reach a broader audience


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