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Twitter in the Classroom Michael A. Britt, Ph.D. Marist College The Psych Files podcast
What is Twitter? A 140 character ‘microblog” You tweet about whatever you’d like –Started out with people tweeting mundane things –Has evolved to a more useful tool You find other people on twitter and “follow” their tweets You can follow tweets on your homepage, but most people use a “twitter client” like Tweetdeck so you don’t have to go to twitter.com. Tweets pop-up on your screen.
Additional Info on Twitter You can follow people who are tweeting about an event by using the hashtag –Ex: #haiti –Ex: #epaconf Your tweets will go out to everyone who is following you, but you can indicate that a tweet is intended for a specific person by using symbol at the beginning of your tweet (however, everyone following you will still see tweets) If you are following someone and that person is following you, then you can send a direct message to only that person using letter D and the person’s twitter name: –D mbritt
How to Set Up Twitter for Your Class 1.Set up a twitter username for your class: –Ex: brittpsy101 2.Tell your students to create a twitter account, then go to and follow you 3.Then anything you tweet will go out to all of your students 4.Tell your students to put #brittpsy101 at the end of their tweets so that everyone can set up a search column called #brittpsy101 in Tweetdeck This way students can easily see anything that other students tweet about Tweets can also be received on mobile phones
What Would We Tweet About? Websites or other resources relevant to class that you come upon –Students can comment on resources you’ve found and all other students see these comments as well (like a discussion thread that is “on the go –Students can send messages like this as well Thoughts that occur to you after class that you forgot to mention Remind students about assignments, due dates, etc. Students can follow experts on twitter and “re- tweet” what these experts say so that everyone in class can read the quote (and decided to follow this expert if they wish)
What Would We Tweet About? Be radical: encourage twittering during class: –Do in-class surveys (semi-anonymous if you or your “twitter monitor” reports the class results to your question) –Ask quiz questions –Tweets could be projected onto the wall, or You designate your twitter monitor to surface questions to you –A way to get participation from shy students
Some Reactions from Teachers “I was prepping for a lecture and wanted to know if students shared a particular movie reference, I asked via Twitter and got instant responses.” “I have have answered twitter colleagues’ questions like “have you done this successfully”? also I follow a terrific colleague who links to amazing articles relevant to teaching & our discipline”
Some Reactions from Teachers “The immediacy of the messages helped the students feel like more of a community” “Once students started Twittering I think they developed a sense of each other as people beyond the classroom space, rather than just students they saw twice a week for an hour and a half. As a result, classroom conversation became more productive as people were more willing to talk, and [be] more respectful of others. “When something came up outside of class that reminded them of material from class time it often got twittered. This served as a reinforcement/connection between the material and the “real world”.
Concerns I must admit that when I first heard about Twitter I thought it represented the apex of what concerns me about internet technology: sound-bite communication. –also worry about the way that they too easily lead to less time for conversation and how these conversations often reduce to self-centered statements. –Then I read an article by Clive Thompson at Wired. Clive’s article convinced me that perhaps it was worth giving Twitter a try. At this point I have to say, I am so glad that I did.” Sometimes students tweet unimportant information Some students, depending on their cell phone plan, can get charged if they set up tweets to be sent to their phone, so you have to make sure they look into this first.