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What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online service where users can communicate with one another using messages that are 140 characters or less. Users can “follow” other users, create “lists” of users around certain categories, and post “tweets” throughout the day that are available for their followers to see.
Twitter users are identiﬁed by an “@” symbol followed by their name (you can follow LIT on Twitter by searching for @LIT_at_WIT). A hashtag (#) is a code inserted in a tweet, usually at the end, which makes it easy for people to find and aggregate related tweets. Usually a hashtag is a word or
phrase preceded by a “#” symbol (for example, “Last day of classes today! #firstdayofsummer” is a tweet that could be grouped with other comments regarding #firstdayofsummer). Twitter also allows users to re-tweet (RT) messages that they like from people they follow to their own list of followers.
Want more information? Check out www.twitter.com
Ideas for using Twitter in the classroom
- Create a hashtag for your course and include it in your syllabus so that students can share comments and ideas with one another throughout the semester (for example, try #suffolk_hist101 for a History 101 course). You can use the hashtag to tweet upcoming due dates for assignments.
- Ask students to create a list of twitter users who are in the career that they want to pursue and keep a journal of trends they notice in tweets. For example, a student could create a list of people who work in publishing and write a report on the kinds of issues that are being discussed.
- Practice being concise. Since tweets can only be 140 characters, ask your students to practice writing short thesis statements, topic sentences, or summaries. You can collect these through having students include your class hashtag at the end of each tweet.
- Help students review for an exam by posting sample test questions on Twitter for them to study. Students can also post their own review notes or ask questions for other students to respond to via tweet.
The preceding information was reproduced in the online format with the permission of Suffolk University's Center for Teaching & Scholarly Excellence. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-nonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.30 Unported License.