[Teacher's Guide] Five Ways to Integrate Twitter into the Writing Classroom

 

Refer to the above terminology when needed. Next, I will explain how each of the five Twitter practices can be integrated into your writing course.

1. Tweet course announcements prior to the start of class. Tweeting course announcements prior to the start of class will help situate the students in terms of setting expectations and establishing motivation for attendance. Announcements or reminders can concern guest speakers, special treats, links to online slideshows or any other material that will facilitate the start of class. This activity, in effect, sustains interaction and communication (Gao et al, 2012, Lowe & Laffey, 2011, and Rinaldo et al, 2011).

2. Tweet sentence-level exercises. A key goal when teaching basic writing is to emphasize the story telling nature behind constructing a sentence. The subject and verb of your sentence should be seen as characters and action (Williams 2007). Furthermore, Tweets are limited to 140 characters (letters, spaces, and symbols); this microblogging format generates a writing style that requires both clarity and conciseness. In addition, Twitter is a social medium where the sharing of digital stories is a community event meant to engage and provoke further conversations. This practice will show students “how to learn” and encourages interactive activities (Gao et al, 2012).

Tips for writing effective tweets

    • Don’t use all 140 characters, shorter tweets are more engaging
    • Include a hashtag on a keyword, making it simple to follow course tweets 
    • Tweet at another member or @anothermember to create a conversation

3. Tweet questions for the instructor or guest speaker during lectures. Create a back channel by asking students to tweet questions during class and take time to read and answer those questions during or after the lecture or presentation. This practice will allow the quieter students an opportunity to participate and enables immediate participation (Elavsky et al, 2011, Gao et al 2012).

4. Tweet questions after class to the instructor. This forum will provide a quick and dirty Q&A system to solve common problems. You will find yourself looking forward to such tweets since both parties are limited in scope in terms of messaging length, 140 characters. The shared conversation will benefit the community as whole and reduce your workload. This activity also sustains interaction and communication outside of the classroom (Gao et al, 2012, Lowe & Laffey, 2011, and Rinaldo et al, 2011).

5. Turn twitter activities into a narrative to summarize a class activity. A Twitter feed can provide a narrative of Twitter moments. After an activity, you can read through the feed to discuss what happened, what worked, and what students should take away from the lesson. In this manner, you are essentially documenting the process (Wright 2010, Gao et al 2012).

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