Students live-twitter class

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 current.fm.

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.

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3 Comments

  1. It’s so encouraging to see that you are taking some risks in the classroom and having students participate in these tools first-hand. In my experience, this is absolutely the best way to understand it.

  2. Great job getting your students ready and prepared to use the tools of the future. I wish I would have had more online skills when I finished college. Instead I had to learn the long, hard way: on my own with just Professor Google.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Mihaela,

    I love the “learning as an avalanche” comparison.

    Also, if we don’t model risk taking ourselves, how can we expect students to counsel their organizations to take the transparency risks of Web 2.0 and of real dialog. You are talking the talk and walking the walk!

    Tiffany


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