Communication is Key
I am a big believer in the Flipped Classroom and the focus on “the best use of classroom time” as Jon Bergmann (and many others) describes it.
For my classes and in particular my style of working with my students I find that the time outside of the classroom is equally important. The issue becomes how to keep connected with each other outside.
I’ve used many tools for this over the past 20 years or so:
- Unix talk command
- Usenet news
- Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
- forums in various LMS (Moodle, Blackboard, Schoology)
- good old email
- Facebook (groups and private messages), see my post here
On to Twitter
I want the ability for my students to express their ideas and calls for help to the entire class (and course since I usually teach multiple groups) as well as the world at large.
We use a hashtag (#TC1014 and #TC1017 for the courses this semester) to communicate about the class. Students often send me direct messages (DMs) as well but I am trying to encourage them to be more open.
Is it Working?
I tried this in previous semesters and it did not “stick”. I think the reason is that I offered other options like the course LMS and a Facebook group for each course. Now this is the main option and (some) students are using it.
Here is one example, note the communication using images (screenshots) as well as the time stamps here. I can’t be sure but some other students might have learned from this conversation and I used this example of communication in class time to stress the importance of:
- Asking for help is okay.
- Asking in public increases the chances that others will answer.
- Showing details (screenshots or links to code) is important.
Permission before Posting
By-the-way, I asked Samir if I could post this conversation.
How are you using Twitter?
Your turn now. Is Twitter useful for you with your students or in your professional practice as an educator? Let us know in the comments.