Teachers with Twitters

Staff members enter social networking site to communicate with students


Andrew Sternfield

Science teacher Erik Olah uses Twitter to interact with his students.

Twitter is one of the most popular social networking sites on the Internet and has many uses ranging from communication to entertainment. With Twitter’s popularity, it is no surprise to find some of Palo Alto High School’s teachers on the website. Teachers at Paly who have Twitter accounts are using Twitter to communicate with their students. Some teachers choose to use Twitter to more effectively communicate with their students about school or school assignments. Others use it to interact with students about topics ranging from school events to popular TV shows.

Twitter’s accessibility makes it a great platform for communicating with students about school events and work. A teacher’s Twitter page and subsequent tweets can be accessed by anyone as long as their account is public. This allows teachers to post information that their students might need to their Twitter account. Students who have Twitter accounts of their own can “follow” their teachers, which allows them to see their teacher’s tweets in their Twitter feed. Scott Friedland the AP Statistics teacher at Paly, uses Twitter to give his students information about his class. His students can find files, announcements and assignments for the class integrated into their Twitter feeds. Friedland wanted to originally make a Twitter so that he could embed his feed into his website. In addition to finding information on Schoology, kids can choose to follow me and get updates instantly or they understand that the expectation is to check the Twitter feed once a day on the website according to Friedland. Students can also communicate with Friedland by tagging him in a tweet or direct messaging him on Twitter.

Not all teachers use Twitter just for school. Erik Olah, a Paly science teacher, uses Twitter as a means of communication on a variety of topics his students. Olah tweets about Paly events and replies to some of his students’ tweets.

“I say funny things and interact with students,” Olah said. Unlike Friedland, Olah doesn’t feel that posting assignments to Twitter is necessary in addition to Schoology. Twitter as a communicating device helps him to build relationships with students. Olah’s entertaining communication with students is not limited to just current students.

“I think it’s cool for me to be able to interact not only with the students I have now, but also some of the kids of previous years,” Olah said.

Whether it be used for entertainment or more practical purposes, Twitter is a valuable tool for teachers and students in today’s modern classroom. Both Friedland and Olah recommend Twitter to other teachers.

“I think it’s a good tool to build a community of students,” Olah said.