Sunday, February 22, 2009

this replaces those - twitter in the classroom

this semester, twitter is the main mode of communication used by my students and me. twitter has replaced at least three classroom technologies, and has streamlined our outside-the-classroom conversations and collaborations.

twitter has replaced the class listserv. for years, i've used a listserv (alternatively called a mailing list or discussion list) to extend our discussions beyond the classroom. these days, when we want to continue conversations, the 12 students in DMP, the 17 students in ESF, and i use twitter.

twitter has replaced email announcements. in the past, if something's come up, or i want to add a reading, or we have a location change, i would send all the students in class an email. these days, when i have something to announce, or when my students have something to announce, we use twitter.

twitter has replaced the cardboard box i used to bring to class on due dates. in the past, my students would print out their papers and bring them to class; i'd collect them in a box and take them back to the office to grade. these days, my students write blogs, design flickr sets, upload vidoe, and post works-in-progress. when finished, they tweet about it so that i - and, more importantly, their peers - can check it out.

14 comments:

....J.Michael Robertson said...

David: Twitter is working for you and your students cellphone user or not, correct?

david silver said...

it's working like a charm.

Eamon Costello said...

I like it. Twitter as VLE. Very minimalist.

Anne Marie said...

Hi
What is your twitter ID? Just thinking it would be nice to see the kind of discussion you manage on twitter. Do you use hashtags?
Thanks
Anne Marie

@amcunningham

Bill Drew said...

Nice post but what ever happened to capitalization? It makes sentences easier to read unless of course you are e e cummings.

david silver said...

Eamon - thanks! i'm a big believer that oftentimes less is more, especially in physical and virtual learning environments.

Anne Marie - hello! i'm @davidmsilver on twitter. and, no, i do not use hashtags - yet - but i'm certainly receptive to hearing how they can be used.

Bill Drew - thanks for the comment. i believe that capitalization, like capitalism, is often overrated.

Bill Drew said...

GRIN!! Good answer.

jw said...

So you give announcements to your students via Twitter rather than email: doesn't that force your students to filter through your tweets for the one that is specific to their needs?

I think Twitter is a good forum for casual conversation, but for critical information, I think I'd choose something that was less noise, more filter. But maybe that's because I twitter frequently (@jeffreywindsor) but email my students only with important announcements, and even then I make the subject very, very clear that it's an important class announcement.

Or am I missing about Twitter or how you use it?

Ms. Courtney said...

Are you/how are you archiving older posts in your discussions? I was very dissapointed to see twitter didn't save all my posts, only the last several hundred.

david silver said...

jw - thanks for your comment. one of the topics that comes up in all of my classes, especially in classes like digital media production, is information overload. i am constantly encouraging my students to brainstorm strategies to filter the noise and get to the good stuff. so, the notion of asking my students to filter through my own tweets to find the "good stuff" is something that integrates perfectly with the course.

that said, one of the reasons this works, i believe, is that i am a relatively light tweeter. i post between 3-5 messages a day, so students can find the messages that relate directly to them quite easily.

two more things: i WANT my students to read my other, non-course-related posts. i want them to learn a bit about my research, my work in the department, my labors in the garden and kitchen, my life with sarah.

but more importantly, i enjoy that twitter is a two-way street, and i enjoy learning a bit more about their lives. what i love the most is when they tweet about what they are doing not in my classes, but in other classes, especially other media studies classes. i cannot underestimate this point: i find it profound that, through twitter, i can catch glimpses of what my students are doing for their other classes.

thanks again for your comment.

Ms. Courtney - hello! other than favoriting some of my students' tweets, i am not archiving our discussions. this may be a problem and i may regret this down the road but i'm not sure. for me, the best part of the class takes place in the class, face to face discussions, debates, and exchanges. using twitter as a means to extend this conversation is awesome but i do not consider it the main "space" of the class. all that said, if you have any ideas and/or tips for archiving, please let me know!

Dawn Baird said...

This is an incredibly cool use of Twitter. Not to mention efficient.

Re:jw - surely students would also have to filter through emails to find the relevant ones too??

Debbie M. said...

speaking of twitter . . . I don't (grin) but iLibrarian has a great post that links to two web resources: one, about conference speakers and the "back channel" and two, "twitter tips," a twitter resource guide. See How to Present While People are twittering

Silver said...

The silver lining is... Facebook isn't unbeatable after all... or is it the case that FB and Twitter are on a conspiracy to put a cartel on social networks.

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