Had a really stimulating comment to my earlier post re Twitter and education - Thank you Anne Marie - It's just great that people read this stuff :-)
Okay, I know I should post this as a comment but I did not want to lose my thoughts in a comment - I also cheekily thought that other comments might flow to this post with some other ideas.
Blogging, by the way, is just great for getting you thinking and comments on the blog take that thinking to the next level. I like blogging me and I like learning too :-) Keep them comments coming. Rambling now. hmm, not so good after all. To business ...
The comment related to the use of Twitter as a tool for educational purposes and what might it *really* add in terms of communicating with students. I have to agree that was aligned with my original thoughts too. i.e. What seriously can we do with 140 chars? But after my introductory tour from Lindsay Jordan, and observations that I should immerse myself and have a go, I have become converted.
... and so I can honestly see some uses of Twitter for genuine educational gains. Sure, it's not the answer to everything, but little is. An essay does not explore students' numerical understanding nor their practical problem solving ability. In fact you might argue that a 3000 word essay does little to promote crispness of thought. Equally, Twitter has a certain functionality that might limit it's use but its functionality might be useful in specific situations.
I have dumped a few thoughts together with a minor preamble ...
I'm keen on Just-In-Time-Teaching (JiTT) (Novak et al) and also the Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT) wonderfully described, collated and themed by Angelo and Cross.
Hence how about using Twitter as a tool to collect responses to a One Minute Paper?
* What did you learn today?
* what was the stickiest / muddiest point?
* What questions remian uppermost in your mind?
* What two things do you want me to cover next week?
* What question do you think your peers should be able to answer based on this weeks lecture.
I'm sure you get the picture and can add to my quick question list. Using a #hashtag will allow you to keep all the response together for each weeks questions. Not only do you get them thinking but you get a large resource for them to review.
I'm keen too that we see our students as valuable resources and so from one post each (in a class of 100) they get to see 100 posts - not a bad return.
I have written elsewhere that some of these questions they might just copy - and indeed that might be okay for the muddiest point etc, but other questions might explicitly require an individual response.
i.e. drawing on today's lecture relate the content / concept / idea to an experience that you have had. i.e. get them to relate it to them. That way they can't copy.
And then you write if your idea is already on the list then you have to write another. Not only does that get reading what others have posted, which in itself is good, but it gets them doing stuff quickly - i.e. reduces cramming - helps develop reflection and inculcates an appropriate study pattern
* What about asking students to post think-alouds to Twitter outside the class as they are thinking about the module? Guess these should really be called tweet-alouds (Russell, 2009).
* You might go further and ask if you had 140 characters per post and you could 5 posts two days after the lecture what would you posts be? Make those posts now.
* Or, as you open up the coursework what things are you thinking?
What theories will you draw on?
How will you show that ...
I think all of these have some genuine potential and could be used both inside the class (CAT) and also outside the class Non-CAT! and to support adaptive teaching, student centered teaching or JiTT.
(ps am I rambling still?)