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:

On to Twitter

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by marek.sotak:
creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by marek.sotak:

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.


feature image is creative commons licensed (BY-2.0) flickr photo by marek.sotak

2 thoughts on “Using Twitter with my Students

  1. This is just awesome! I think that is kinda the same community effect you see on StackOverflow but applied to a class. You’re building, literally, a *virtual* open classroom. Which should be great to both your students and other students all over the net.

    Two ideas came to mind while reading your post (and the twitter feed) maybe use Cloud9 for development so everyone has the same environment. And how about something like CodeEval but maybe resetting it every semester or just not displaying others’ answers until after the due date of the Task/Challenge. #ThinkingOutloud

    1. Eduardo, thanks for the reply! It is especially awesome to receive feedback on a teaching blog from former students.

      Joel’s work at StackOverflow is great and I’m looking at how to use that influence in my work in education actually. Something I have been working on is how to bring the coding part more “live” and visible besides posting to GitHub. I think the time for coding from a browser is here.

      Systems like Cloud9 (I knew about this) and CodeEval (new to me) are definitely players in this shift to visible/open education.

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