Classroom use of Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter since December 2012 and am still learning how to use this platform in a useful way. After attending the Western Conference on Science Education in July, I’ve been thinking about how I might be able to integrate Twitter into my courses. In the past few weeks I’ve been investigating how other professors use Twitter as either a teaching tool, or how they build it into class assignments and course credit. I’ve listed a few uses that I’m mulling over below.

1) Several professors run a Twitter back channel during their lectures. This allows students the opportunity to ask questions in real time and is especially great for shy students who may not feel comfortable speaking in front of a large audience. One example of a person who did this fairly early is Monica Rankin.

2) A Twitter feed can be used to remind students of upcoming tests and assignments. Our internal course management system already does this, but using Twitter is another quick and easy way to issue class updates.

3) Collaborative event watching. One professor teaching film studies had students live Tweet as they watched the movie Blade Runner.

4) Creating a course hashtag and asking students to post links to news stories relevant to course material.

There are many other great uses suggested for bringing Twitter into the classroom. Two sites that summarize ideas can be found here and here.

I probably won’t do anything too wild this upcoming term, but perhaps I’ll ask the students in one of my courses to dip their toes into Twitter.

Feel free to share any comments, ideas, and success stories in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “Classroom use of Twitter

  1. I’ve been thinking about using Twitter in the classroom for some time. I think a good exercise for Hon. BSc students (or any undergraduate student, for that matter) and grad students in a graduate course would be to summarize their class/thesis project in 140 characters or less and hashtag the course number. Several journals are now asking for a “highlights” section to be submitted along with the manuscript, where, in 5 bullet points or less, at 85 characters or less per bullet point, the authors are asked to summarize the entire manuscript. Twitter might just be a good way to introduce students to writing concisely, effectively and even creatively, since they could also upload a picture to go along with the tweet.

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