Using Twitter in the Classroom

There has been a lot of discussion lately about using twitter at conferences and out of that has risen a growing voice asking “How might I use twitter in a classroom setting?”

So Let’s Begin With WHY?

At the recent Teaching and Learning to the Power of Technology Conference, three professors at the University talked about what they liked about twitter in the classroom:
Questions: Students asked questions about both the content and classroom processes (When is the exam?) and were answered by both the prof and other students which cut down on the time Profs spend answering individual emails.
Engagement: In large classes, it can be difficult to get students to engage with each other in the learning process. Twitter increases this activity both with fellow students and with the Prof.
Presence: In large classes, students can seem to flow together in a mass of faces. Twitter can give Profs a sense of who people are as individuals without breaching the professionalism divide.
Acceptance of new technology: Many students use twitter as a form of note taking that can be checked through what peers are saying about the content. Prof can check on how accurate the key points are being perceived.

And Follow Up With HOW?

Begin with a course hashtag # something short, descriptive and clear that isn’t being used elsewhere on Twitter. Ideally the students will be involved in coming up with something useful. Having a class #hashtag avoids the issue of students being added to personal twitter accounts. Add the course #hashtag to your presentations.
Decide how actively you want to be involved in the #hashtag:
Minimal: set twitter office hours when you will answer questions
Medium: sent articles, images, reminders and other resources that might enhance the learning experience and actively encourage students to tweet images and notes on your presentations
High: Tweet your presentation as you are giving it by using tools like Status Present. Show the twitter feed for the class on a second screen or every 15 minutes and answer questions that are posted.
If you want to comment on or add to my ideas, contact me @bonnycastle.

Should medical doctors advocate for patient support groups

Canadian Physicians are expected to develop skills in advocating for patients, both as individual and as groups as part of the CanMeds Roles initiative. Patient Support groups are becoming an important aspect of some people’s management plan. Some examples are Patients Like Me Web Tribes and StarBright World. For other examples see a previous blog on the topic.
Do you think it is fair to ask physicians to become familiar with resources like this or should it be the responsibility of organizations like the Canadian Cancer Association? What responsibility do patients have to inform doctors about groups they belong to?