Classroom: Twitter in Action

In my August 19th blog post, Classroom: Student use of Twitter, I ended my post with the following comment:

“Communication strategies and student engagement are often given as reasons for looking at Twitter use in the classroom. I believe the skillful teacher will find the right fit for Twitter as a curriculum support tool.”

Last night I found a good example of a skillful teacher using Twitter in the classroom. How appropriate that I found this example through Twitter!

In the video, The Twitter Experiment – UT Dallas, Dr. Monica Rankin, Professor of History at the University of Texas at Dallas, School of Arts and Humanities, who has been using Twitter in her classroom talks about her approach and initial observations of this new tool. Dr. Rankin acknowledges that Twitter use in her classroom is experimental, and that it is important to ‘play in the mess’ to figure out the most effective use for her classroom, students and subject matter.

While acknowledging the 140 character limit of a Twitter message, both Dr. Rankin and students interviewed identified a number of advantages to incorporating Twitter into the classroom setting. Comments included:

  • greater participation of students
  • accommodation of more input/comments than could have been spoken in class
  • shy students that may not have spoken in class were involved in the discussion
  • the discussion continued outside of class time
  • the instructor participated in ongoing discussions even when duties took her away from the university

I noted that students accessed Twitter with a variety of different technologies: desktops, laptops, netbooks and smartphones. Students that did not have access to technology were accommodated  by having their hand written Tweets entered on their behalf after class.

The YouTube video,  The Twitter Experiment – UT Dallas (apprx 5 1/2 minutes) is well worth the watch.

~ Mark

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