Twitter is a brilliant resource for student collaboration, both between classes and peer groups and with other students and academics around the world! Here are 5 great ways for students to collaborate using Twitter…
1. Collaborate on Projects Using Hashtags
A group of students can use Twitter for research on a particular topic and start their own hashtag to quickly and collaboratively save all their findings into one common stream. By adding the hashtag to each relevant tweet they find they will each individually be able to search for it and see the results collected by other members of the team or class, regardless of whether they are in the same location. A great homework assignment would be to ask students to research a particular topic on Twitter, marking relevant tweets with a hashtag in this way and then looking at the stream together and analysing their results in class the next day.
2. Use Twijector to Create a Real-Time Twitter Wall in the Classroom
Twijector is a fantastic and simple tool that allows teachers to create a real-time Twitter wall (also known as a backchannel), which can be projected in the classroom. When analysing tweets together using a particular keyword or hashtag search (as described above), Twijector allows students to see the stream of tweets as it develops, in real-time. Another great way students can collaborate using Twijector is to contribute to a live tweet-stream using individual mobile devices whilst another student or a teacher is giving a presentation or whilst watching a film. (TOP TIP: Make sure each student has an identifiable Twitter handle to avoid the temptation to insert rude tweets into the backchannel!)
3. Collaborate with Subject Leaders
Perhaps the single most exciting aspect of Twitter is that it is a great leveller – students suddenly find themselves on the same platform and elevated to the same level as their greatest academic heroes! From famous physicist Brian Cox to the Pope himself , students of any subject can find great inspiration from following the thoughts and reflections of experts in their field. Even more excitingly, those on Twitter are often quite open to questions and interactions, so encourage students to pluck up the courage to tweet academics with their queries and ideas – you never know who might get an inspiring personal response!
4. Use Twibes to Create and Join Common Interest Groups
The Twibes tool allows Twitter users with an interest in a particular topic to create a group, sharing information, resources and ideas with like-minded users. Students can use Twibes to collaborate with others by joining a group discussing a particular subject area, or by creating their own new group for a specific class or topic.
5. Use Hark to Collaborate Out Loud
Hark allows Twitter users to upload sound bites and add them to their tweets! Students can choose between sound effects like laughter or a drum roll or collaborate conversationally by exchanging voice clips. Encourage debate by limiting students to ten short voice clips to make an argument and then vote on who made the most effective points…using a hashtag to collect all the tweets into one debate of course!