Tech Tools

The Twitter Experiment

Here is a lecturer who has taken the first step to try and use Twitter as a learning tool. She shares her experience of this experiment with the world through this video - fantastic!

For those who are interested in trying this themselves you may wonder about the details. If you look closely at the live stream of tweets in the video, you will see a hastag #h1302w08 and #h1302w13 etc. This hastag is the key to getting all your students' tweets into one stream. It appears that she has chosen the hastag #h1302 to represent her History course/module and the w08 or w13 at the end of that represents the week of the semester.

Once you choose an appropriate hastag for your class group, you let every student in the group know what it is and they must use it in their tweets for the class to be able to search for that hastag on twitter to pull all the tweets that carry that hastag up into one stream. 

It is clear from her experiment that she has given the students a reading assignment that they are required to post tweets on to share their understanding of the topic/reading and then she discusses those comments in class. You could pose a question to the class group on a particular reading and then ask them to comment in 140 characters (including the hastag) their new understanding or comments. You will need to set a time period on this for each student to post comments (she did this weekly using w08 or w13 at end of hastag to ensure that only tweets related to that week's topic can be pulled into live stream). Then in class you logon to your twitter account, search for the class hastag and project the stream of tweets for further discussion (She uses a twitter app called Tweetdeck to display a live stream of tweets through the data projector but using twitter directly is fine.).

Twitter is a microblogging tool and a tweet can contain only 140 or less characters. This means a student will have to think carefully about their choice of words to express their thought in that tweet. It really does give each student the opportunity to comment on the discussion topic and write. 

If you are keen to try this in the classroom yourself, please do share your experience with us all as we learn together.

This CNN clip provides another great example of a high school teacher using Twitter in his classroom for a particular project. TRY IT!

  • Liesl Scheepers

    Posted at 2012-03-01 09:42:46

    Really excited about the idea of Twitter in the classroom - making it my 'pet project' for 1st semester! If anyone has anything to share, I would be very keen t hear from you...

    Reply to comment

    • Anne Whaits

      Posted at 2012-03-01 22:36:01

      Great project Liesl! Would love to hear your experience of this. I believe that if you explain what you are going to try with your students and you all learn together it will work better. Please don't hesitate to contact me to chat further on this "twitter project" - happy to help where I can.

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