Twitter for the Classroom

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. 

ADVANTAGES

  • 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

DISADVANTAGES

  • 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.

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Published in: on November 8, 2009 at 11:14 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “I will try this in my classroom. With an activboard, I can put them up there on the board as they come in.”

    I have to know… did you?

    • I did try this but only had 2 participants and eventually it faded out. Not a lot of my high school kids follow twitter for some reason. I think it could catch on but because I did not introduce it until later in the semester, kids had a hard time integrating into the routine. Next semester, I am going to post assignments and previews for the next day on Twitter and see how it goes. Thanks for the responses!


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