Monday, May 11, 2009

Using Twitter in the Classroom

Ran two live blogging sessions today, both about using Twitter in the classroom. It's been three weeks now. Three weeks of constantly projected Twitter feeds in my Latin II and III classes. I am starting to really get a feel for what works and what doesn't.

One of the things that was a lot of fun today was using Twitter as a motivational tool. Simple idea really: as students worked on translations, I Tweeted a variety of questions. Students then received a quarter of a point on our upcoming test for each question answered. The catch? They had to be the first to respond accurately via a Tweet.

Now, this may seem like just a simple task. Cute, but so what?

Well, consider two things: 1) a little competition for extra credit can really get the energy going in a classroom and 2) (and more importantly) all of the students now have in their feed a record of all of the incorrect and correct responses. In other words, they've all got a study guide that demonstrates the variety of incorrect answers as well as one that presents the correct answers. In the future, when we prepare for the test, I will call up these Tweets and we'll review by analyzing the incorrect answers and try to explain why mistakes were made.

Could even throw the incorrect answers into a Skyped discussion and play a game of 'Bluff'. One way or the other, it's like having a huge communal pool of 'real mistakes' to learn from. And because the students see that everyone else makes mistakes -- even made a goof myself this morning -- they are more motivated to take part; it's a way to get them off their fear of making mistakes.

The second thing I noticed today was that via Twitter, it was easy for me to pair-up, split-up, and re-pair students. While I just happened upon this towards the end of our second session, it's something I'm definitely exploring. Think about it: by following student progress in real-time, you can instantly make informed changes to grouping and pairing not based on subsequent assessment, but based on the actual formative work the students are doing right there in the present moment. A DM to each individual student, and you can form pairs or groups without making an announcement to the whole class.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have a 1:1 program at your school or in your classroom? I'm curious how my students could all compete to respond first in a tweet-some have iPhones & Touches but not all.


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