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Live-Tweeting the Debate Gets Students Digitally - and Politically - Active

September 24, 2015

To no one’s surprise, last week’s Republican debate took the Twitterverse by storm. Millions of Americans tuned in to CNN to see the candidates in action, and millions more followed the highlights and hashtags online. But some of last Wednesday’s most active tweeters were not journalists or policy wonks - they were high schoolers in Ken Halla’s government class at Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, Virginia.

Since last year, Halla has had his students live-tweet political events, from debates to the President’s State of the Union address. He’s created specific guidelines to encourage kids to be good digital citizens while Tweeting, and Halla himself contributes with facts and tidbits to make sure the class is following along. For last week’s live-tweet, government classes and their teachers joined in from around the region, using the hashtag #fcpsgov to create their own Twitter community. And nothing holds students’ interest like the chance of being a trending topic: even though Halla only requires his students to make three comments during the debate, they usually end up posting over twenty!

Check out #fcpsgov and you’ll find a lively, meaningful conversation between students who aren’t afraid to share their opinions and take a stand for their beliefs. Halla and his students are living proof that Twitter can be a digital extension of the classroom.