Teaching with Twitter?

Anyone out there teaching with Twitter?

Are any of you thinking about it? My main issue is Why? What will it *do* that would help with what I am trying to do already? We will have a discussion about this later in the semester, on Tuesday, October 26.

Until then, read what some people are saying through these articles I’ve collected:

1. This piece that ran in the Chronicle on August 11 explains the nuts and bolts of using Twitter.

2. A follow-up piece offers some ways in which to include Twitter, also from the Chronicle (August 24) read here.

3. At another campus, they are pulling the plug on all social media and technology tools for a week. Wonder how that is going to work.

What are your thoughts on this issue? I hope you’ll post some comments here and join us in the CFE on Tuesday, October 26 to talk more about it.

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5 Responses to Teaching with Twitter?

  1. Bob Trader says:

    I guess the thing that most concerned me about Twitter in the classroom was the digital divide issue. There is an assumption that young people are hip, tech savvy, and own the latest and greatest. Yet, this obviously isn’t true considering the demographics of college students.

    The other thing that concerned me was there are multiple ways to obtain feedback in large scale lectures (clickers, students holding up signs, various prearranged signaling systems). I can’t imagine Twitter being anything but awkward and disruptive in a large class. It just seems unnecessary.

    Twitter for networking makes some sense. But, there are already places to network with academics such as LinkedIn and http://www.academia.edu/. So, why Twitter?

    • gretchenmckay says:

      This is sort of my problem, exactly. Why is this better?

      To those out there that know better — can you “make” your students set up a Twitter account? Can they use their phones? I mean, they nearly all have phones that text (does anyone know of students who don’t have a phone that texts. I am legitimately asking).

      I wonder these same things, Bob.

  2. I use twitter with students, but specifically NOT in the classroom. I share your concerns about the size issue – most of these technologies are great for large lectures, and pointless in the small liberal arts environment. But there are two further points to consider:
    First, students who are too shy to speak in class are often the most active on twitter. So while we should have a concern about the ‘digital divide’, let’s not forget the ‘big mouth’ divide as well.
    Second, while I agree that the digital divide is a real problem, but it won’t be bridged if we do nothing to teach the students without experience.

    Here’s how I use twitter:
    My students keep blogs of weekly informal writing exercises. These blogs are linked to their twitter accounts, and I created a twitter list to follow all of them. Thus, I get notified when they’ve posted an assignment, and other members of the class can follow and comment on blog entries during the semester. Public discourse, immediate notification and no paper – what isn’t to like here?

  3. Elizabeth van den Berg says:

    I am intrigued by the idea of using Twitter in large lecture situations, particularly considering the discussion at the FYS meeting today. All of my FYS students were complaining about the “boring” flex hour presentation – maybe this is a way to get them to engage. And, this is off blog topic, but since we pride ourselves on being a small school that engages students in small class experience with personal attention from professors, why are we exposing our freshman to a large lecture hall format for these sessions. I realize this is a convenient and efficient way for the diverse groups on campus to get the word out that they are there and available to help them – but ultimately perhaps this is detrimental to what we are trying to accomplish with our freshmen?
    (Yes I’m sending this to the FYS team as well…)

    • gretchenmckay says:

      And I would add that while the panel presentations of The Kite Runner were awesome the year we did that in Alumni Hall, I heard students saying things like, “I thought this was not a big lecture-style college.” And so, when I took over planning Orientation, we moved to the discussion of the book in small groups. And that was why, BTW, the book needed to be handled by various disciplines….so that we could get a good number of people to lead the discussions.

      I realize that this is off-topic here, too, but I guess “it’s my blog – I can post how I want to?” (sung to this is my party song?).

      Thanks for posting.

      I’m intrigued by Clickers or Twitter for the big, large-style lecture for FLEX, too.

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