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Tweeting Your Way to Improved #Writing, #Reflection, and #Community

Alice Louise Kassens Roanoke College
kassens@roanoke.edu

NETA Fall 2013 Austin, TX

Can we harness social media to work with us in the classroom?
 Social media is here  It is very popular  Economists are not great at

embracing technology in the classroom

 Students enjoy it  If you can’t beat it…

What is Twitter?
O Online microblogging
O Accessed through

technology
O Post “tweets” up to

140 characters
O ~200 million active

variety of portals: cellphone, computer, tablet
O Tweets can include

users, ~400 million tweets/day
O Free service,

pictures and videos
O User’s twitter page

www.twitter.com

can be customized using templates

@kassensecon122

Twitter in the classroom
O Twitter has been

shown to improve:
O Engagement O Participation O Writing O Community O Learning O Memory

Twitter and writing/reflection
O 140 character limit

forces succinctness
O “electronic editor”

#writi ng

O Brevity of tweets =

powerful tool for teaching writing & other communication skills

Twitter and writing/reflection
O Writing about

economics=vital test of understanding
O Challenge in 100-

#reflecti on

level courses
O A key to good

writing=developin g an argument

What we did
O Social media project
O ~25 student avg. O 15% of course grade O Computer lab O Screen projecting Twitter

O Ten graded tweets
O Rubric developed

with class
O Assignments both

feed
O Unique hashtag

in and out of class period
O Review tweets in

(#kassensecon122)

class

Preparation (in class)
O Brief introduction to Twitter (many

students had never used Twitter)
O Set up accounts O 10-15 minutes to personalize page,

follow, tweet
O Develop rubric: “What makes a good

tweet?”

Faculty should already be familiar with Twitter

Preparation (in class)
Twitter grading rubric

Sample assignment
O State of the Union

Address 2013
1. Watch address w/in

O Purpose
O Increase student

24 hours of event
2. Tweet several

awareness of current issues
O Apply course

comments or questions
3. One tweet graded

material to these issues
O Communicate in

thoughtful/concise manner

Sample assignment

Sample assignment

Unintended consequence
O Twitter expands the

classroom beyond the physical walls
O Global conversations O “guest speakers”

#commun ity

O Community can be

developed in typically isolated experiences

Suggestions
O Hold class in lab O Establish ground rules O Allow practice tweets O Select unique # O Grade tweets via

Benefits
O Expand classroom, become

part of a larger community
O Refine reflection & writing

skills w/o a large written assignment
O Increase engagement O Demonstrate responsible use

student page
O Follow your students O Assign a significant

of social media

weight to assignment

Difficulties
O Challenging with

Cautions
O Professor should

large classes
O Currently are not

be comfortable with the technology
O Pick a unique

reliable applications to collect tweets for a record

hashtag for all assignments
O Keep tweets to

course material

Thank you!
 

Follow me @RnningEconomist Follow my class @kassensecon122 Read my paper
http://ssrn.com/abstract=2331004

Email me: kassens@roanoke.edu

a K e c i l A

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