I read an article about experiments in higher education classrooms using Twitter. Here’s the link. It seems that it has made some success but results are still mediocre. I found it interesting that several mainstream universities (such as Penn State) have experimented with it. As a result of last weekend’s game with Ohio State, maybe the football team should stop Twittering and start playing — ARRRRR! Anyway, I found the use of Twitter in the classroom intriguing and thought I would critique it.
Twitter in this experiment is used as a tool to ask questions and respond during class. The professor projects the tweets on the board and responds to the questions and comments as they come in.
- promotes questions and comments without having to take turns
- Allows those who are reserved to ask questions and make comments
- Students and teachers have tweets they can refer to when studying or responding
- Allows students to ask questions at any time – even when not in class
- Students can refer to these tweets if they miss class
- Teacher can give previews of class before actual class
- Tweets are public
- Not all students have ready access to twitter – most do, not all
- While tweets can focus discussion, they do not lend themselves to extensive explanations (more than 144 characters)
- Twitter was originally designed to be a program to post about the casual. It can be difficult to find that tweet you made or someone else made 4 months ago.
Using twitter in this way really has some great advantages. Using a more traditional route is routine – like raising your hand or just calling out. If you want to, students could write questions on the board or on a sheet of paper and hand them in instead of doing this on Twitter. The real advantage is that everyone can see the questions and hear the responses when done electronically. I like this new method.
I will try this in my classroom. With an activboard, I can put them up there on the board as they come in. It generates discussion and organizes a direction without having to call someone out to respond or ask a question orally. In time, I see a better program being developed or discovered to do this more effectively. For now, it is a great way to involve students in learning in the classroom and out.