David Zax / ASEE Prism Magazine / October 2009 /
Twitter can improve teacher-student communication, in and out of class.
In most respects, Prof. Natasha Neogi’s aerospace engineering class is like any other. It’s a large, hour-long lecture-style course at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. But at the halfway mark, Neogi’s class takes on a new twist. She invites her students to log on to Twitter – the “micro-blogging” service that limits messages to 140 characters – and write in with questions. Neogi sifts through the “tweets,” in Twitter-speak, addressing the most common sticking point at the end of class.
Of course, plenty of professors — engineering and otherwise — have long been using Twitter. They tweet about interesting links they’ve come across; they complain about their flight delays; they keep us updated on their cats. But there are also professors who, like Neogi, have begun to bring Twitter into the lecture hall or seminar room. [snip]
Gordon Snyder, who directs the National Center for Information and Communications Technologies at Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts, has also experimented with the back channel. He assigned his class a "hashtag", [snip]
Mishra followed that experiment with a more ambitious one: using Twitter to join students from different continents. [snip]. He praises Twitter for "this ability to connect people... The sense of community can be very useful and powerful."
But just because Twitter has found success in some classrooms doesn't mean it's right for all engineering educators. After all, most of the experiments have thus far been led by professors of educational technology or social media itself ... .
One common concern is that Twitter currently isn't equipped to deal with engineering's lingua franca: mathematics. [snip]. Though an advocate for new classroom technologies, he doesn't foresee using Twitter in courses heavy in equations and scientific formulas. "There's something organic about a concept flowing from your brain to your hand to the board, and from the board to their hand and their brain," he says. [snip]
!!! Thanks To My ISU Colleague / Dr. Jacob D. Schroeder / For The HeadsUp !!