I remember when I first started using Twitter. I was hesitant. I was still unsure what the hashtags were for. I had a hard time reading tweets that seemed filled with random bits of information and came across as disjointed. Okay, I still have problems with those. But I started using it primarily as a classroom tool and as a way to get my students interested in all things Englishy and to see that there are many ways to use Twitter and ethical ways to behave on Twitter. So when I mentioned using the OED in the classroom, I also shared that the OED tweets a Word of the Day. When I taught colons, I challenged my students to tweet a sentence with a colon in it and tag me.
@MsEyres I only like to read books that involve the muder of my favorite characters: Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and The Book Thief.
— Inquisitor Nicole
@MsEyres gosh darn it, I knew I mispelled something!! I meant to type “murder”. Whoops…
— Inquisitor Nicole
What I love about that one besides her reading list is that she goes back to correct an error unrelated to the colon, prompting discussions about editing and not hitting “post” quite so rapidly and maybe also learning how to forgive ourselves for making silly errors.
Now that I’m at GCC, I’m testing the waters with how I can continue to use Twitter for both research possibilities and engagement. I started simply by having them tweet on paper one thing they had learned in class that day and include any hashtags they wanted. Here is one I got from a student who doesn’t even have a Twitter account:
“‘OMG’ Dude, proper summarizing has never been simpler. Equation for summaries: Context + Introduce sources/give credentials + main points = BA summary. #Propersummary”
I love this one because he applied the learning to another subject, and now I have a math equation I can use to show how to properly integrate a summary into student writing. Here’s what I think happens when using Twitter (or maybe any other social media) with students: We speak a common language, and that creates connections and engagement.