Saturday, March 24, 2012

Reader Question: Using Twitter in my Classes

This one from Bethany:

"I was just curious how you use twitter in your class. You mentioned that its a requirement for your students and I'm curious about it! Sounds cool."

I've only started using Twitter this semester as a way to communicate more effectively with my students outside of class.  I used to get their email addresses/phone numbers, but I found that students often don't check their email for weeks and that me sending text messages to an entire class was way too time consuming and expensive.  Now, I just use Twitter.

How to set it up:

Make a Twitter account.  I use: (uni name)jackie.  Then, students can download the app onto their Smartphones or Ipads.  If they don't have one of those (usually one 1 or 2 students out of a class), they can do it at home on  Then, get the students to "follow" you.  I give my students a number.  For example, my first class of the week is "1" and my last class on Friday ends up being "8."  They have to use this number as part of their username.  For example, KimSuJi8 would be in my last class.  Then, I use these numbers to put them into lists by class so I can keep track of who has signed up and who is in what class.  Plus, if they ask me a question like what their homework access code is, I can keep them straight without having to go through all my attendance sheets.

How to use it:

I send lots of messages.  The good thing about Twitter is that they just pop up onto their phones through push notifications and they don't have to login.  Some examples of messages I send are things like,

"Remember your homework for tomorrow."
"If you have problems registering for Internet Homework, use the computer lab in the library."
"Hi!  Welcome to the class." 
"Remember: no class tomorrow!" 

Students often ask me questions as well.  Like what score they got on their homework.  Or what the access code for the homework site is.  Or just say hello.  

And I have one special class that I teach on social issues.  They have a book where they have to do weekly readings for homework and take a quiz in class.  I use Twitter to give them hints about what's on their quiz.  And I also ask them some discussion questions about social issues and if they respond, they'll get bonus points at the end of the semester.  


Shawn McCarthy said...

I like this idea of using Twitter to communicate with students. One question - once you add students into class lists, can you tweet just to a specific list then? How does that work?

Jackie Bolen said...

That is the one major fault with using Twitter. You can't tweet a specific list. Spam prevention I think. On my tweets, I send them to everyone, but I start with the specific class. For example, "Social Issues Class:" or "PEC 3:"

Shawn McCarthy said...

Thanks for the info!

Carissa Peck said...

I use twitter to communicate as well, but I have each class with a hastag in the tweet. That way students can just click the hashtag (in this case: #Advanced1ITESM and get sent to:!/search/%23Advanced1itesm has the most recent tweets for my Advanced I class.