Readers of Twitter and Reddit will likely recognize the hashtag #TIL. It stands for “Today I Learned”, and is used with a new and interesting fact that the author just discovered today. It’s accompanied with a link back to the originating website so readers can learn more about the interesting topic.
I realized that this is very similar to an old teaching technique I used to use called the “Exit Ticket“. Students would have to write a sentence or two at the end of a class period to tell me what they learned from the day’s lesson before they leave the room. It’s a quick way to get students to reflect on their learning, restate new information, and reproduce the learning in their own words.
If you use some kind of a classroom social network or Learning Management System, try having students do a #TIL post after they see new concepts or skills for the first time. It’s a great way to get a snapshot of what students are taking away from your class meetings, and can also be a fun way to share independent learning among classmates.
Alternately, you could have students independently research a new topic, and then post their “Today I Learned” facts back to the class. This is a great way to get students to go beyond the surface facts to find what’s really interesting about your content topics.
I wouldn’t recommend public networks like Twitter and Reddit with younger students, since people post all sorts of content with the #TIL hashtag– sacred, profane, and everything in between. However, private classroom networks like Edmodo, Schoology, and Yammer allow you to confine the conversation to only the people in your class or school community for greater privacy and focus. Not all of these systems support hashtags, but a dedicated discussion board forum in your LMS works just as well to keep the conversation coherent and focused.
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