Nov 10

Twitter in the Classroom?

I’m about to teach my first class this coming semester, and I would love to hear THATCamp-ers thoughts (and experiences?) on using Twitter in the classroom.  I’m a social Twitterer (@ajin212), and I’ve personally live tweeted at a museum un-conference hosted by the John Nicholas Brown Center and for a public humanities course on memory and memorials.  However, I haven’t live-tweeted in the classroom.

I’ve read up a bit from scholars and critics here [“How Twitter in the Classroom in Boosting Student Engagement”], and here [“Twitter and Facebook in the Classroom”], and here [“Purdue University Adds Twitter and Facebook to Class Participation”].  In general, there seem to be mixed reviews from both professors who have used social media and question tools in lecture.

It seem unreasonable to hold a discussion amongst 15-20 students and having everyone live tweet simultaneously.  No one would look up from their laptops, phones, and iPads…  However, I would like to encourage students to do more than use tweets to direct classmates to quotes in the reading before class.  While it was exciting to try something new, I didn’t find it that helpful or engaging when I participated in a “conversation” with other students (many of whom posted an hour before class and didn’t talk to one another in their posts or use RT or hashtags to delineate lines of potential conversation).

In the course I’m TA-ing now, I wonder how using Twitter or blogging might draw my quieter students into the conversation.  I do have them submit questions ahead of class by email, but they’re talking to me, not to each other.

So, I’m curious how one might go about integrating Twitter in a seminar course.  Perhaps a few students are responsible for tweeting each day?  Perhaps students live tweet while watching films, television clips, or slide shows?  We could even practice by live tweeting the session!


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  1. Kelli Marshall

    Hi, Amy:

    First, thanks for reading and citing my post on Twitter and Facebook in the classroom!

    Second, I’m not sure if you’ve returned to my blog since that post, but I have written a bit more on the use of Twitter in the class since then. Unlike last time around, this semester I’m requiring that students tweet a certain amount of times per week (a minimum of 6x in my classes of 30 and 3x in my class of 125+). This has been working out well so far, really well actually. In any event, I’ve recently posted the following on this “experiment,” if you’re interested:

    Teaching 200+ Students How to Tweet: The Challenges

    Teaching 200+ Students How to Tweet: The Rewards

    Best of luck to you!

  2. Libby

    Hi Amy,

    I would be very interested in this session at THATCamp this weekend. I’m also a social tweeter, and have also live tweeted a conference [50th Anniversary Maine Women Writers Collection, 2009]. I have not used twitter live in the classroom [but sounds like a wonderful experiment I’d like to chat more about], but this semester I did experiment with Twitter in my history research methods course. I had my students go into my twitter account, look at the archive of my tweets, and then they had to draw five analytical conclusions [with evidence and explanations] about me based on what I had tweeted. What they came up with was pretty intriguing, and they all really liked the assignment. I’d like to explore more possibilities!

  3. Marta

    Great! I tried, and failed, to incorporate twitter this semester, but I’m excited to do it in the future!

  4. Rebecca

    Looking forward to this session. I tweet with my students for my Online course. Everyone is nervous at first, but toward the end of the term they like it, and some keep up with it after wards. The key is making it relevant and helping them find relevant content and people to follow for it to start to click. You just can’t tweet for a week and “get it.” It must be on-going throughout the term.

    I follow and chat with Rey Junco on this who is an expert in this area. His latest study on Twitter & student engagement has been covered a lot in the past week. mashable.com/2010/11/04/twitter-student-engagement/

  5. Kathie

    Looking forward to this session. I’ve used Twitter in my classes for about a year now and have found particular success in distance classrooms. (I have an article currently under review at Kairos about the experience: prezi.com/uphgnhshagbw/tweetagogy-kairos/.)

  6. Amy

    I think Twitter it is a neat option, especially for students who want to share resources (links, articles, etc.) and to continue out-of-classroom threads. I like the idea of it being packaged with meatier alternatives (e.g. blogs, private or public forum with less word restriction, etc.) in case it drives conversations or discussions that need to expand beyond the twitter word count…

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