Depending on how many people you follow on Twitter, it could be impossible to keep up with Tweets during a real-time discussion. Imagine a screen with fifty or so Tweets, updating every ten seconds, and only about 20% of them being from students in the class. In order to organize the students’ Tweets, we used the hash tag #Torgchat and the website Tweetchat. Many students didn’t take my suggestion to use the Tweetchat site, and if you’ve done much teaching, you probably already realize that there’s lots of times you’re talking but nobody’s hearing anything you say. I used to blame the students, but now I’ve accepted that part of the teaching environment and am trying to figure out what I might do about it.
By using the hash tag #Torgchat, the website Tweetchat could collect just the Tweets from our discussion and collect them on one screen. This can now also be accomplished through the Twitter search feature, but one thing Tweetchat does is put the hashtag in automatically. Students participated via their phones or computers. I teach at a school where the price of a laptop is included with tuition, and before you start to figure out how you will manage this yourself or start booking times in the computer lab, you should know that my first uses of Twitter to enhance classroom discussion didn’t go very well. Still, you might have suggestions for me or ways to improve on what I set up for the class. More next post on how we used Twitter, what I didn’t like about it, and what I plan to do in the Fall of 2012. Love to hear of your own plans you’re formulating.
In November of 2012, I’m a part of a panel discussion related to Twitter. You can read more about that here.