One question I get asked a lot is how can I use Twitter or why should I use Twitter in the classroom?
Here is why I enjoy my students using Twitter:
1. It is a great way to get to know students.
2. Quick communication between professor and students.
3. I find that students who may find a concept interesting may send me articles, or create discussions outside of the classroom.
4. It’s fun!
I really enjoy how fast a class will bond when we all start tweeting. Yes, some students are not going to participate as much as others. Those students usually have the attitude that Twitter is stupid and are close minded. I have turned some of those students into Tweeters, and some I have not. That’s ok. But, at least, when they go out and get a job, those students know the “lingo” that goes into a social media communication tool that employers are taking seriously.
My favorite line is, “The only thing people do on Twitter is talk about what they eat and what they do.” My answer to that is, well, if you want to talk about what you eat, link to the recipe. If you’re eating pizza, let me know what brand and where I can go get some. Tweet with intention. I also encourage them to start interacting with people who are working in careers that they want to work in. Twitter is a great networking tool. I share my own examples and once they realize Twitter is not just for telling people what you ate and that it’s more about networking–that’s when they get hooked.
I always stress that Twitter is like an organic conversation in many ways. It’s about the right now and sometimes you just want to turn to your friends and say, WOW, that was a great meal. And in another minute share a news article you found interesting. I like this about Twitter and I love how Twitter can be a rhetorically powerful tool to discuss political issues or poor Olympic coverage by NBC.
For three months students have to Tweet in my Computer-Mediated class. I tell them I have them from September until December. What you do with your account after class is up to you. But, many, still tweet to me after class has finished. And, this is what makes me happy.
Here’s a link I share with students on the first day: