Proposal Title

Twitter Back Channeling to Enhance Learning and Engagement: A Multi-Disciplinary Study

Proposal Abstract

As technology becomes more pervasive in communication, the best educators adapt their classroom to accommodate the norms of their students. For this reason, three professors from different divisions including Mathematics (Math & Science), Economics (Social Science), and History (Humanities) from a two-year university in Wisconsin attempted an interdisciplinary study of the utility of backchannel communication through the use of Twitter in the classroom. The purpose was to both take advantage of emerging technology and encourage otherwise guarded students to participate in the classroom dialogue by offering a communication venue that does not require speaking or raising hands. The goal is not to depress in-class discussion but to be more inclusive of reluctant to speak students who are more comfortable expressing themselves in anonymity or in an environment that does not lend itself to face to face confrontation. This methodology allows students to voice an unpopular view without fear of peer reprisals, ask a “stupid question”, continue a discussion beyond the boundaries of the classroom, or add value to learning when the student’s ideas do not keep pace with the classroom topics. We try to answer the question: “Do students perceive that Twitter backchannels help them learn and keep them engaged?” Our statistical data suggests they do. More than 80% of the students agreed that the intervention kept them engaged while more than 70% of the students that it helped them to learn and that they would select a tweeting section given a choice. During the presentation we will conduct a demonstration of the technology.

Location

Room 115

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Mar 28th, 10:00 AM Mar 28th, 10:45 AM

Twitter Back Channeling to Enhance Learning and Engagement: A Multi-Disciplinary Study

Room 115

As technology becomes more pervasive in communication, the best educators adapt their classroom to accommodate the norms of their students. For this reason, three professors from different divisions including Mathematics (Math & Science), Economics (Social Science), and History (Humanities) from a two-year university in Wisconsin attempted an interdisciplinary study of the utility of backchannel communication through the use of Twitter in the classroom. The purpose was to both take advantage of emerging technology and encourage otherwise guarded students to participate in the classroom dialogue by offering a communication venue that does not require speaking or raising hands. The goal is not to depress in-class discussion but to be more inclusive of reluctant to speak students who are more comfortable expressing themselves in anonymity or in an environment that does not lend itself to face to face confrontation. This methodology allows students to voice an unpopular view without fear of peer reprisals, ask a “stupid question”, continue a discussion beyond the boundaries of the classroom, or add value to learning when the student’s ideas do not keep pace with the classroom topics. We try to answer the question: “Do students perceive that Twitter backchannels help them learn and keep them engaged?” Our statistical data suggests they do. More than 80% of the students agreed that the intervention kept them engaged while more than 70% of the students that it helped them to learn and that they would select a tweeting section given a choice. During the presentation we will conduct a demonstration of the technology.