Boy, you take one semester off for a sabbatical and crazy things end up happening in your classroom! I was away from teaching last fall, but ended up becoming a Twitter user over the fall 2011 semester, and I’ve become a big fan. So this semester, I have included my Twitter handle (name), @CentralsProfG, on all my syllabi and plan to use the service to help increase student buy-in to my courses.
Where to begin? Using Twitter, or “tweeting”, is similar to posting a status update in Facebook. You can take any thoughts or ideas going through your head at any given moment and broadcast those thoughts or ideas to the world through a tweet, a Twitter message. You have a limit of 140 characters to get it done, though. So for my classes this spring, I plan to use Twitter as an extension of Bb “Announcements” to hopefully keep students in the loop with issues surrounding our class. For example,
Twitter allows its users to categorize tweets by using hashtags. For example, in my MATH 116 class, I devised the hashtag #CentralMATH116 and will include that hashtag in any tweet I create related to my MATH 116 class. As a result, any student in my MATH 116 class can go to Twitter and do a search for #CentralMATH116 and find all posts mentioning that hashtag, and thus getting additional information about their class.
I don’t really know how all of this is going to play out, so I hope to post to this blog again at some point later in the semester, reporting on how this might have helped students get more involved in my classes. We’ll just have to wait and see!! If things go well, and there is interest, I could be persuaded to post more how-to materials and instructions of how to get started with Twitter.
If you’d like to read some information I found useful, you can check out a Twitter for Academics guide.