I thought this video about  Professor Monica Rankin, a history professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, was a great introduction to using Twitter in the classroom. I appreciated her willingness to try using new technologies even when she wasn’t entirely familiar with them. What I found most interesting during the video was how technology was used to enhance conversation. I often hear that the pedagogical benefit of having a classroom blog is that it allows students who wouldn’t normally speak up in class the opportunity to participate in online discussions. I like the idea that those who wouldn’t typically share their thoughts could do so in real time, and maybe increase the potential for diverse voices in the classroom. However, I did have a few questions, such as:

Do you grade Twitter participation the same as actually raising your hand and contributing to the discussion? How do you keep comments civil? How do you incorporate comments effectively into discussion? What about student who already have Twitter accounts and don’t want to subject their followers to class discussions? (Here I think the idea of creating a special account just for class holds a lot of merit).

And perhaps my most important question: Most posts/blogs/articles/books that I read about technology in the classroom focus on incorporating technology into general education environments, or into classrooms that have large numbers of students. So what would Twitter look like in a seminar class? Would it be helpful, or distracting? Would it provide a great roadmap of the discussion (like Dr. Rankin mention) or would it isolate students?

I think I would definitely like to give it a try at some point–maybe have Twitter week and see what students think.

Here’s some more thoughts about “The Twitter Experiment” from blogger Derek Bruff.

 

 

 

I found the custom designed Twitter button here.

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