Students live twitter class

Posted: October 18, 2008 in Food for thought
Tags: ,

It’s long overdue, but here is my post about the PRinciples class session that was live-twittered.

I started class with these instructions for students:

  • Unprotect updates (settings)
  • Use Web interface & reload page often
  • Use #principles hashtag – twemes
  • Tweet: Important ideas, Links, Comments

Then I set them free and started lecturing about social media: What it is, and how it has changed power dynamics in society. I remember telling students that social media lets people inside the Golden Wall – telling them that as I was speaking, they could twitter what I said, and that was scary: What if I said something stupid? I also told them that social media makes it possible for individuals to have voices as loud as those of rich organizations.

Then Laura Fitton (@pistachio) joined us on Skype, and the live-twittering continued.

During that one hour, the conversation coming from our class was at the top of twitter conversation tracking boards twitscoop and

The most powerful take-aways for me were:

  1. We LIVED the concepts I had just talked about at the beginning of class. We saw our voice climb up among twitter conversations. Tweets from a small group of mostly young women were at the top of the charts. We experienced the shifted power dynamics brought about by social media.
  2. For me as the teacher, the experience was terrifying and liberating. It was like living the nightmare that you’re naked in public. My students might not tweet negative things about me, but if I do say something stupid, as I often do, it doesn’t stay within the classroom -it’s out there for the whole world to see. So, CAUTION: This exercise is not for everybody. It certainly wasn’t for this NYU professor.
  3. Learning happened – quickly and powerfully as an avalanche. It was important to give students time to reflect on what they learned. Here are some of their reflections: Alyssa, Cara, Michael, Sallie.
  4. The downside: This experiment made apparent several opportunities for twitter spam, which I won’t explain because I don’t want to teach people how to spam.

You can read everything that was twittered during class, or just my favorites. Students still twitter during class, and I see and comment on their tweets afterwards – it’s allowed and encouraged, but not required – they should be free to take notes in whatever medium serves them best. I would like to experiment in the future with collective note taking (I’m looking into NoteMesh) and with CoverItLive.

  1. I think the fact that the whole class was told to live twitter was not only really rewarding and exciting to us because we were using everything we have learned so far in your class, but I feel like since then, the class as a whole feels more comfortable with twitter. Since that day, I have seen more conversations in and outside of class on twitter. Overall, the live twittering was a great experience and I highly recommend doing it again! 🙂

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