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Steve Wheeler :: Blog :: Teaching with Twitter

January 02, 2009

http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com/2009/01/teaching-with-twitter.html

Most would agree that Twitter was one of the social networking phenomena of 2008, and has enjoyed exponential growth in popularity. The microblogging tool has obvious potential to be used in formal learning, both in traditional online classroom settings and - through mobile technologies - for mobile learners.

Ever since I first began to use Twitter I have been thinking about how to harness the potential of microblogging for the benefits of my own students, and have tried out several ideas to exploit it already. Below are my 10 top uses of Twitter for education:

1. ‘Twit Board’ Notify students of changes to course content, schedules, venues or other important information.


2. ‘Summing Up’ Ask students to read an article or chapter and then post their brief summary or précis of the key point(s). A limit of 140 characters demands a lot of academic discipline.

3. ‘Twit Links’ Share a hyperlink – a directed task for students – each is required to regularly share one new hyperlink of to useful site they have found.

4. ‘Twitter Stalking’ Follow a famous person and document their progress. Better still if this can be linked to an event (During the recent U.S. Presidential elections, many people followed @BarackObama and kept up to date with his speeches, etc).

5. ‘Time Tweet’ Choose a famous person from the past and create a twitter account for them – choose an image which represents the historical figure and over a period of time write regular tweets in the role of that character, in a style and using the vocabulary you think they would have used (e.g. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar).

6. ‘Micro Meet’ Hold discussions involving all the subscribing students. As long as everyone is following the whole group, no-one should miss out on the Twitter stream. All students participate because a sequence of contributors is agreed beforehand.

7. ‘Micro Write’ Progressive collaborative writing on Twitter. Students agree to take it in turns to contribute to an account or ‘story’ over a period of time.

8. ‘Lingua Tweeta’ Good for modern language learning. Send tweets in foreign languages and ask students to respond in the same language or to translate the tweet into their native language.

9. ‘Tweming’ Start off a meme – agree on a common hash-tag so that all the created content is automatically captured by Twemes or another aggregator.

10. ‘Twitter Pals’ Encourage students to find a Twitter ‘penpal’ and regularly converse with them over a period to time to find out about their culture, hobbies, friends, family etc. Ideal for learning about people from other cultures.


Here are some useful links to others who have used Twitter in formal learning:

David Parry:
Teaching with Twitter (Video)
Alan Lew: Twitter Tweets for Higher Education
Melanie McBride: Classroom 2.0
Judy O'Connell: Twitter - a Teaching and Learning Tool
Gabriela Grosseck and Carmen Holotescu: Twitter for Educational Activities
Carmen Holotescu and Gabriela Grosseck: Using Microblogging in Education

If you have any other tips or applications for Twitter or any useful links to share, please feel free to do so. (Cartoon source: www.zdnet.com)


Posted by Steve Wheeler

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