Monday, September 23, 2013

Using twitter in lecture

It never occurred to me to use those horrible "clickers" that publishers have been trying to sell us for the past decade. But this year the most logical thing seemed to be having students tweet their response to a lecture question. A couple of weeks ago a student asked if it was for taking attendance. I answered "no" and I meant it. But today when I asked my students to tweet me their response I made it clear: this was just to get their opinions. 

On Mondays at 2 PM my students have just come from a large lecture given in a cavernous, anonymous hall. Many of them skip lunch to make it to the 1PM lecture so in addition to being disengaged, they're hungry. How to get students to take a minute to think, not just take notes on what you're saying?

I asked my students today to respond to the question, "can inheritance be considered as a selective pressure?" This after a short discussion on "subjective" vs. "objective" based on their responses from lab last week. I was surprised how many people responded in a short discussion to my queries about that topic:

1) How do people make judgements about what's objective and what's subjective? (How did you do it last week?)

2) What does it take to convince someone that something is "objective?" (Does it matter?)

3) Is there a use for the "subjective" in problem solving? (What about aesthetics as an of our themes of the year).   

I got a large number of tweets in the minutes after I posed the question about inheritance. It led to a relaxed, receptive mood as my phone buzzed off the hook and people heard their responses "coming in." Here's what they wrote:

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