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The Effect of Student Engagement

“Imagine a 20 minute lecture where all your students back channel about what you're saying. Outside guests or experts are invited in. Someone acts as a "rudder" to keep the conversation on track. The discussion is displayed on a SMARTboard or with a projector. The chatcast is immediately dumped into a wiki. The rest of the class is devoted to reorganizing the wiki clarifying what was said, answering questions (student to student as well as teacher to student; and don't forget the people, students, teachers, mentors or parents beyond the glass walls of the room) summarizing the big ideas, reframing the discussion in terms of what needs to be explained again and where we're going next. Imagine the possibilities …” -- Terry Friedman, 2008 Talking about bringing Twitter into the classroom. 

In “Pleased to Tweet You,” middle school teacher Kate Messner used a TweetChat with an author and publisher to go along with a book her students had been reading in class. Her students happily chimed in with questions, answered on the screen before their eyes as the teacher tweeted them at the author. The English language teacher followed the children’s favorite authors and students tweeted questions such as “What are your favorite strategies for developing characters’ personalities?” which garnered responses from several published authors.

Twitter has also been used by some teachers to encourage collaboration across countries. For example, one American class had a conversation on Twitter with a Japanese class while they were studying Japanese world history. Many teachers have also used Twitter to talk to fellow teachers and improve their craft, organizing conversations by subject level such as #musedchat for music teachers and #langchat for foreign language teachers.

Sources and additional resources:
What do you think? Does Twitter have a place in the classroom? How about other new media technology?

mostly by Lindsey Cook

Lindsey Rogers Cook

Senior journalism and computer science student at The University of Georgia Honors Program.

lindzcook@gmail.com; 678-464-7351; @lindzcookwww.digitize-me-captain.com 

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