TWITTER AS A TEACHING TECHNIQUE?
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (SPAIN)
As a professor of Legal Philosophy and Human Rights at the Carlos III University of Madrid (Uc3m) I have always been interested in improving my teaching-techniques in order to capture the attention of my students. Since 2010, I have been using “twitter” in classes to generate and structure some debates with them. Thus, in June 2011, this initiative has been granted by the Uc3m as an innovative teaching experience.
In this paper, I would like to explain the use of twitter in classes according to my personal experience. It will be important to show its assets but also its limits.
I could have noticed the following results:
1. Increase of the quality of the debates with the students
2. Increase of the quality of the oral and written interventions of the students.
3. Development of teamwork. Indeed, the fact that a group of 2 or 3 students should agree (in a limited time) about what they are going to tweet, strengthens their ability to work with one another: they exchange ideas and the reach a formal and material agreement.
4. This project enables the professor (or the educator) to coordinate not only the “virtual” activity in twitter but first and foremost the participation of each group. His/her teaching and coordination skills are getting improved.
How does it work?
1) For he students: A previous calendar about the twitter sessions should be settled.
2) Before the sessions, the students must have checked the material (article, chapter of a book, video, etc.)
3) The day of the twitter debate, different groups of students are set up. (2-3 members).
4) Each group should have one laptop
5) Each group connects to internet through wi-fi
6) They connect to www.twitter.com
7) In each group, one member login to his/her twitter’profile.
1) For the professor: He/she connects to twitter thanks to the desktop’s computer usually available in universities ‘classrooms.
2) He/she logins to his/her twitter account
3) If there are a projector connected to the desktop computer and a screen, it is advisable to use them.
4) The professor raises a question
5) Then, he/she tweets this question in his/her tweeter account
6) At the end of the tweet a specific “hashtag” should be used. For instance, in my classes of Political Philosophy, I use this one: #POPHI. The students will also have to end their tweets with the same hashtag. Thanks to this system, everybody will be able to follow the timeline of the debate.
7) Before tweeting, the groups should have a 5 to10 minute time of thinking and intern debate.
8) Then, each group can start to answer the question, and writes their tweets. Thus, if a projector is available in the classroom, all the messages are appearing in front of everybody on the screen.
9) The professor should help the groups that might have some difficulties.
10) He/she asks each group to explain their tweets.