Saturday, September 28, 2013

Teaching Twitter as a learning tool

Take a look around your classroom.  You know there's a moment where some student is looking at their Twitter feed on their device.  The variety of things they are talking about is astonishing.

It's time to teach students how to use social media for productive means.

Teachers cannot allow this opportunity to pass by.  Students are already using social media, but they've never been taught how to use it appropriately or productively.

Yesterday, we got toward the end of the hour, and we had been reviewing for their upcoming test on demand and supply.  This is a topic that requires practice and application of the idea.  I was discussing how they should review and study so that they would be prepared.  I gave them a template using the demand/supply model to create questions first and then answer the question.

I, then, told the students that they should share and quiz their classmates - perhaps using Twitter.

Here's how:  first take a picture of your demand/supply model.  Second, write your question.  If it's multiple choice, list responses.  Third, create a hashtag (#) for others to follow (we used #econreview).  Last, tweet your question.  Your reviewing followers can respond to you, and they should make certain to use the #.  Everyone can scroll through the established # for the feed.

Fortunately, I had a student quickly catch on and tweet out the question I created.

I tweeted another one:

There seemed to be a moment of --- my gosh, my teacher is trying to have us use Twitter for schoolwork.  How dare he!  Or, who's this old guy thinking he can show us how to use Twitter!

The known unknown is whether this will catch on with them.  In their minds, this is an attempt to cross the line between what things are for work and what things are personal.

In a 1:1 world, there's no difference, but they don't know that yet.

(post script: I can check the #econreview, but either they've yet to starting thinking it's cool to review using Twitter or their Twitter settings are set so that only their followers may view them, which I will not become.  Students actually said that this is how people will start to 'unfollow' them.  I mean, what a great feeling that these students seem to have thinking that all of their followers read every single one of their tweets.  This must be a generation that broadcasts deeply profound philosophy.)

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