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Social Media and Earthquakes

Social media is a powerful tool that should be used in the classroom. And, in case you weren't aware, your students are already using it, so you should try to harness the power for good. Below is an example of how I use it for an earthquake lesson. Of course, this can apply to any topic

 This is a map from the USGS. It identifies the locations of recent earthquakes
USGS Map of Earthquakes in the past 24 hours

Here is map of Twitter conversations about earthquakes. I like using Trendsmap for this visualization. Each one is clickable, and the size of the textbox represents the number of tweets.
Twittermap of #Earthquakes (Trendsmap)

Twitterfall is another favorite of mine. I really like it when showing a video. I ask that the students tweet info that they find interesting. It really adds an increased level of participation, and engagement. Some are concerned that students will use their phones inappropriately during the activity. Some do, but no more than the number that use their pencils to doodle instead of jot down notes. The teacher needs to actively monitor the class. Their tweets also serve as a record of their participation.

Other ways to show tweets are numerous. I run VisibleTweets like a screen saver, while the students are working.

And, if you wish to add a writing component, I recommend using Storify. Your students can find relevant tweets, and other media, including images. The media acts as an eyewitness account, and adds a great dimension to their writings. I ask that they add media, and then respond to it based on the content we have discussed.

No matter what you may choose to try, I think that you will find a higher level of student engagement. They use social media, and like it. They don't go home and print off worksheets to do for fun. Take advantage of the amazing tools available.

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