The sound of a student tweeting in the classroom has long made teachers cringe, but now one local school district is transforming the digital distraction into an educational tool.
The Northwest Independent School District has introduced weekly Twitter chats to its schedule.
Every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m., NWISD invites educators to log on to the popular social network and discuss a variety of topics using the hashtag #nisdnov8.
The district uses the chats as instructional development sessions where educators can share ideas on how to better use technology in the classroom to lead students.
"It's critical,” said Karla Burkholder, Director for Instructional Technology within the district. “Our students, that's their life and that's, they're never going to have a job that doesn't involve technology; no matter what it is."
The district has held three chat sessions, so far. One session even rolled into the next day, attracting nearly 200 tweets.
"It's been really successful for us,” said Instructional Technology Teacher Cara Carter. “The teachers have been able to share the ideas that their students are using in the classroom, and they've been able to get ideas from other teachers and implement them in their classroom."
NWISD leaders say these instructional development sessions are just the beginning of the district’s Twitter endeavors.
The district hopes these sessions will translate into ones that involve parents, students and other community members so they can become more involved in the educational process.
"Technology changes so fast that you have to find a way to be able to access the resources wherever you're at any time,” said Carter.
"Yeah, it could go anywhere,” said Burkholder. “This is professional development for us right now."