Using Twitter in class

A lot of people have been discussing the value of social media in a educational setting. Twitter is something that has become more and more popular for brief messages and there are beginning to be all sorts of ideas on how it could be used to make classroom learning/thinking a more interesting experience for students.

A few examples that I have seen recently are not necessarily totally new but have been adapted for Twitter.

A post called If Shakespeare Had Twittered, published on the Ad Lab site and mentioned by Joanne Jacobs on her site.

Here’s what the first nine lines of the “To be or not to be” passage would’ve looked like had Shakespeare tried to cramm them into the character allowance of Twitter.

  1. “2 be, or nt 2 be: tht’s the q:
  2. Whether ’tis nblr in the mnd 2 sffr
  3. The slngs & rrws of trgs frtn,
  4. Or 2 tk rms gnst a sea of trbls,
  5. by ppsng end thm? 2 die: 2 zzz;
  6. No mr &  by a zzz 2 say we end
  7. The hrt-ache & the thsnd ntrl shcks
  8. That flsh is hr 2, ’tis a cnsmmtn
  9. Devoutly 2 be wsh’d. 2 die, 2 zzz;”

Another post, this time by Susan Berkson, in her post To Tweet or not to Tweet , (Blog: Jump the Snark : Old media writer learns new media ). She imagines a what some tweeting between the Bard and contemporaries might look like.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, that is the question. Would hehave twittered? Would #WillonAvon have sent off sparks all day? What would this have done to his work?
@WillonAvon What light through yonder window breaks?
@WillonAvon Working on new play: Romeo and help! need name
@KitMarlowe Ethel
@DarkLady Pearl
@EssexEarl Elizabeth
@TouchstonePhoebe lol!
@Pyramus Thisbe
@DickIII
Constance
@Antonio Maria
@Ben
Beatrice
@TheatreLover
Liking Ethel. Also Nancy, Margaret, Isabella, Porsche, see my list at tinyurl.xy.co
@WillonAvon
Ale with #KitMarlowe, #DarkLady, #EssexEarl
@WillonAvon Twitter. Rhymes with litter, glitter, flitter, titter, bitter. Ah, well, off to sleep perchance to… drool

Both these ideas could be adapted, for classroom use, very easily, they could be extension work for students that finish early or offered as a way of responding to or showing their understanding of some literature. To successfully complete any such exercises, the students would have to understand the play well, in the first example and have a good knowledge of the characters in the play and Shakespeare’s contemporaries for the second. I have posted before about “creating” a facebook site about a famous person, the idea came from a post by Dean Baseler. This could be taken further by then by using the Twitter-like language.

If you don’t know much about twitter the  following is a slideshare presentation by minxuan. It is a great starting point

This is a short introduction on the value of twitter, how to use it effectively, and how I think it will change the world. Presented to the NUS Entrepreneurs Association in Silicon Valley.

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