For two years I’ve been using twitter with students on two undergraduate modules: my third year undergraduate module Writing Lives and my second year undergraduate module Prison Voices. While some students are more enthusiastic and confident in their use of social media than others, for most students it’s been a revelation. They use twitter while conducting their own research and to disseminate their research blogs and, just as importantly, to promote the collaborative work of the websites.
So far students have managed their own twitter accounts while I have run twitter feeds for the two websites: @Writing__Lives and @Prison_Voices. I use the feeds to circulate resources for students but also to promote the websites and individual student blogposts, though this summer I’ve taken a break from both accounts. As of now, @Writing__Lives, which has been running for 18 months, has 428 followers, is following 319, and has sent 890 tweets. @Prison_Voices has been going for 11 months and has 304 followers, is following 235, and has sent 599 tweets. This is a lot of tweeting, especially since I am an inveterate tweeter @HelenRogers19c. I’m all tweeted out.
So this year, I’ve decided to take the plunge and handover responsibility for running @Writing__Lives and @Prison_Voices to students. On each module students work in small groups to support each other’s research and blog writing. These groups will take turns to manage the twitter feed for a week. During each workshop we’ll take a look at the week’s feed so, as a class, we can monitor how we are managing our social media. We’ll do the same for our facebook sites which, so far, I’ve left entirely to the students. Once students start blogging we’ll also check the relationship between our use of social media and our blog views.
In preparation, I’ve revised my existing guidelines on using twitter for Prison Voices which you can read in draft here, and adapt if they are helpful.
Have I left anything out? What tips do you provide? Please share your thoughts in the comments. If you have used twitter in different ways and would like to write for us, please get in touch, whether you are a teacher or student.