A huge part of Twitters appeal is how instantaneous and bleeding edge now it is. Add in it’s popularity, and it;s spread (geographical, cultural, knowledgebase) and it becomes a hugely interesting resource for topics, projects and discussions that are about the here and now.

Physicists tweeted about the Higgs Boson as it was being described to the world,

<blockquote><p>And combined – 5 sigma. Round of applause. That’s a discovery of a Higgs – like particle at CMS. They thank LHC for the data!</p>&mdash; Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ProfBrianCox/statuses/220421357656211456″>July 4, 2012</a></blockquote>
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or the discovery of ice on Mars

<blockquote><p>Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!!</p>&mdash; MarsPhoenix (@MarsPhoenix) <a href=”https://twitter.com/MarsPhoenix/statuses/839088619″>June 20, 2008</a></blockquote>
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be there as history is made. And tweeted.

<blockquote><p>We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion. All of this happened because of you. Thanks</p>&mdash; Barack Obama (@BarackObama) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BarackObama/statuses/992176676″>November 5, 2008</a></blockquote>
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or maybe it’s something in current affairs and you want to get perspectives, and eyewitness experiences as they happen

#Syriacrisis feed from Twitter

#Syriacrisis feed from Twitter

Whatever it is, it’s happening on Twitter, and having the hashtag scrolling down through the class on a screen or whiteboard can give your class insights, experiences and avenues to engage with the topic that few other media can.

You might connect, over twitter, with an expert, or local resident, who have a unique and valueable perspective that they will share with your class. Unexpected aspects of the topic will cone up – John McCain playing poker, Syrian refugee camps in Bulgaria

<blockquote data-partner=”tweetdeck”><p><a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Syria&amp;src=hash”>#Syria</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23SyriaCrisis&amp;src=hash”>#SyriaCrisis</a> Bulgaria unable to cope with Syrian refugees: <a href=”http://t.co/XZRokvKAoM”>http://t.co/XZRokvKAoM</a></p>&mdash; Romayne Phoenix (@romaynephoenix) <a href=”https://twitter.com/romaynephoenix/statuses/380286109705842688″>September 18, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Having a live twitter feed introduces an element of chance, randomness and openness to the discussion. There will be things to agree or disagree with, new and unexpected perspectives, multiple information sources, media, and resources. There will be tweets that provide context, and tweets that provide opportunities for contextualisation.

It’s also an activity that students can extend into their own downtime, or as a homework activity – students can pick tweets that intrigued them, or challenged them, or look likely to provide new perspectives and information, and do the investigation on them at home, to present in class.