It’s a charade!

It took me a while to get into it, but I’ve bought into the whole Twitter thing now. But one thing I have struggled with is how can it be usefully employed in teaching? Is it me? What transforms the twitter sphere into a learning space and what can be gained from interacting with your students in 140 characters? I’ve seen it used in live feeds during lectures, or for a ‘chat space’ at revision time, but these applications haven’t really excited me.

Imagine my wonderment, then, when I attended a workshop led by Rosie Miles, Reader in English Literature and Pedagogy, from the University of Wolverhampton last week. Underpinned by the theory of ‘ludic learning’, Rosie has successfully developed a twitter-based activity in which students assume roles from fin de siècle literature and tweet in character. Reflecting on the experience, Rosie describes how twitter becomes a disruptive space characterised by the many-voiced, democratic, participatory spirit associated with ‘carnival’. Students relish in the opportunity to explore characters in novel ways and achieve deep, transformative learning through performances of self.

Twitter is the perfect space in which to situate these conversations. It requires students to say things better, smarter. By using protected accounts, it is easy to set up a twitter bubble – a space where students can interact without interference from the outside world (this is important for assessment).

I can see some many applications in other disciplines. Ask students to assume the characters of social theorists? Historical figures? Artists? Elements? Such a simple idea, yet brilliant.

Click here for the abstract for Rosie’s conference paper. She is keen to encourage more examples in other disciplines so if you give it a go, give her a tweet @MsEmentor .

This post was one of our advent learning and teaching treats. To explore all the other treats click here.

Up periscope!

OU social media toolkit:

There are a number of guides to using social media in academic settings, but what I love about this toolkit is the breadth of media covered and the focus on learning and teaching.

I blog (obviously!) and use Twitter, LinkedIn and SlideShare – but having looked at this toolkit I am making a New Year’s resolution to explore Periscope and SoundCloud.  Well, it will give me something to blog about 🙂

It is primarily designed as a guide for OU staff, but don’t let that put you off – the advice is useful for anyone working in an academic context. And the case studies section has some insightful observations and tips from OU staff.

This post was one of our advent learning and teaching treats. To explore all the other treats click here.

Yikety Yak! Let’s talk back!


Whoo-oo-oo! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present, come to alarm all you teaching folk with a vision of horror!  Your students – all of them – have a new app, Yik Yak. It’s like Twitter, but it is anonymous. They can write whatever they like and no one will know. They can moan, swear, bully, use bad grammar…SHUDDER.

It’s not open to the whole world. Worse!  It is geographically bound, so you can only pick up ‘Yaks’ (messages) from with a  1.5 mile radius. That’s your campus, your lecture theatre. That means everything is about you. Intense, huh?  You can feel the wave of panic in the Executive suites. It must be stamped out!

Hang on a minute!  I am the Ghost of Christmas Future and I say DON’T PANIC!  Surely we can find a use for this? How might it help us with Learning and Teaching? It could give us insights into how our students learn, and alert us to NSS issues early? We could use up-voting and down-voting to develop critical analysis. We could even join them and be part of the community. Want to know more, well I bring you this lovely piece by Eric Stoller:

I think he just saved Christmas!

This post was one of our advent learning and teaching treats. To explore all the other treats click here.