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Tweeting in Class

Today in Journalism 24/7, we attempted our second class tweeting seminar. The goal was tweet our notes as Professor Selvin lectured on Net Neutrality. We would take whatever information we felt was relevent, mark it with the hashtag #Selvin247 and tweet it out.

Reviewing the feed after the class was over was fairly interesting. It certainly gave the class clowns (I myself am completely guilty of this) the opportunity to make remarks on the lecture. Professor Selvin herself tweeted after class that the experiment was a failure due to students not being able to resist the urge to be clever.

But I believe calling the experiment a failure misses the point. Like Thomas Edison trying to find the proper fillament for a lightbulb, perhaps it will take many tries to get Twitter to work in a classroom environment. If nothing else, Professor Selvin has just received valuable feedback on exactly what students are thinking during a lecture.

Although some of the remarks may have been witty and off topic, others clearly attempted to breakdown the lecture into a manageable form. The trouble with using Twitter for serious academic use, is that it still has the “toy factor.” None of the students really took it seriously. But what would the result have been if class participation points were on the line in exchange for on-topic tweets?

I think a truly interesting experiment with this techonology would be to try it over the course of the semester, adding a second hash tag with the date of the class. You could theoretically create an online repository filled with chunks of knowledge from the different lectures, just by searching through the hashtags. This could help when preparing for exams, working on papers or when trying to remember something from the class years down the line.

Twitter isn’t ready for full time use in educational institutions. But it certainly has the potential to engage a class if properly implemented.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Lew
    May 4, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Interesting and insightful post. Nice to read this event from a student’s point of view.

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