Is Twitter a Tweet for Community Building?

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  • Is Twitter a Tweet for Community Building?

    1. 1. Is Twitter a Tweet for Community Building?
    2. 2. Is Twitter a Tweet for Community Building? An Informal Experiment with an adult ESL Class at the University of Connecticut American English Language Institute Presented by Kristi Newgarden TESOL EV Fair, Denver, CO March 2009
    3. 3. What is Twitter?
    4. 4. What is Twitter?
    5. 5. What is Twitter? A Social Networking Phenomenon - Twitter is a rapidly growing web 2.0 micro-blogging tool now used by an estimated 12 million people
    6. 6. What is Twitter? A Social Networking Phenomenon - Twitter is a rapidly growing web 2.0 micro-blogging tool now used by an estimated 12 million people A Convenient Means of Communication - Tweets are short messages of 140 characters or less that can be sent via computer or cell phone
    7. 7. What is Twitter? A Social Networking Phenomenon - Twitter is a rapidly growing web 2.0 micro-blogging tool now used by an estimated 12 million people A Convenient Means of Communication - Tweets are short messages of 140 characters or less that can be sent via computer or cell phone An Internet Application with Affordances for Learning - Twitter is being used creatively by teachers, artists, businesses, politicians, etc.
    8. 8. How it looks like online
    9. 9. Twittervision
    10. 10. Why Twitter for ESL Learners?
    11. 11. Why Twitter for ESL Learners? We want new students to quickly become comfortable with classmates and teachers so that they will participate more freely
    12. 12. Why Twitter for ESL Learners? We want new students to quickly become comfortable with classmates and teachers so that they will participate more freely We want to encourage students to learn from each other
    13. 13. Why Twitter for ESL Learners? We want new students to quickly become comfortable with classmates and teachers so that they will participate more freely We want to encourage students to learn from each other We want students to continuously increase their interactions in English
    14. 14. Why Twitter for ESL Learners? We want new students to quickly become comfortable with classmates and teachers so that they will participate more freely We want to encourage students to learn from each other We want students to continuously increase their interactions in English We want students to communicate about what is relevant and meaningful to them
    15. 15. From a Situated Learning Perspective
    16. 16. From a Situated Learning Perspective Language learning occurs as students participate more fully in a community of practice, i.e. a community of English speakers “Meaning, understanding and learning emerge through and are situated in social interactions . . . understanding and experience are in constant interaction – indeed are mutually constitutive”. Situated Learning Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Jean Lave & Etienne Wenger, Cambridge University Press, 1991
    17. 17. The Hypothesis
    18. 18. The Hypothesis ESL learners who use Twitter from the beginning of a course to communicate with each other will become familiar with each other (and their teacher) and build a sense of classroom community. This will lead to increased comfort in speaking English with each other in class and the perceiving of classmates and the teacher as potential sources of support.
    19. 19. The Twitter Experiment Design
    20. 20. The Twitter Experiment Design During the first week of class, the teacher gave students the assignment of setting up Twitter accounts Students shared account information and started to follow each other and the teacher. The teacher and I followed all students. The assignment was to post two updates to Twitter a day and read the posts from others. Responding to others’ posts was optional. After 5 weeks, the students completed an online survey.
    21. 21. Observed Activity Students were slow to set up accounts so we provided a short how-to session Early posts were brief and show familiarity with texting and emoticons
    22. 22. Observed Activity Students were slow to set up accounts so we provided a short how-to session Early posts were brief and show familiarity with texting and emoticons
    23. 23. Observed Activity Students were slow to set up accounts so we provided a short how-to session Early posts were brief and show familiarity with texting and emoticons
    24. 24. Observed Activity Students were slow to set up accounts so we provided a short how-to session Early posts were brief and show familiarity with texting and emoticons
    25. 25. Observed Activity Students were slow to set up accounts so we provided a short how-to session Early posts were brief and show familiarity with texting and emoticons
    26. 26. Observed Activity Students were slow to set up accounts so we provided a short how-to session Early posts were brief and show familiarity with texting and emoticons
    27. 27. Content of Tweets Some early tweets reveal students’ loneliness, sleeplessness, boredom, confusion
    28. 28. Content of Tweets Some early tweets reveal students’ loneliness, sleeplessness, boredom, confusion
    29. 29. Content of Tweets Some early tweets reveal students’ loneliness, sleeplessness, boredom, confusion
    30. 30. Content of Tweets Some early tweets reveal students’ loneliness, sleeplessness, boredom, confusion
    31. 31. Content of Tweets Some early tweets reveal students’ loneliness, sleeplessness, boredom, confusion
    32. 32. Content of Tweets Some early tweets reveal students’ loneliness, sleeplessness, boredom, confusion
    33. 33. Supportive Exchanges Some students replied to others to show their support Students commented about how important their classmates’ friendship was to them
    34. 34. Supportive Exchanges Some students replied to others to show their support Students commented about how important their classmates’ friendship was to them
    35. 35. Supportive Exchanges Some students replied to others to show their support Students commented about how important their classmates’ friendship was to them
    36. 36. Supportive Exchanges Some students replied to others to show their support Students commented about how important their classmates’ friendship was to them
    37. 37. Supportive Exchanges Some students replied to others to show their support Students commented about how important their classmates’ friendship was to them
    38. 38. The Teacher’s Tweets The teacher’s tweets were initially mostly updates of her status
    39. 39. The Teacher’s Tweets The teacher’s tweets were initially mostly updates of her status
    40. 40. Teacher’s Later Tweets She later began to direct message students to encourage them to respond
    41. 41. Teacher’s Later Tweets She later began to direct message students to encourage them to respond
    42. 42. Length of Tweets Some students tweets became progressively longer and more grammatically complex
    43. 43. Length of Tweets Some students tweets became progressively longer and more grammatically complex
    44. 44. Discovering Affordances for Learning with Twitter This recent tweet shows the student beginning to use Twitter as a way to get help with understanding new vocabulary
    45. 45. Discovering Affordances for Learning with Twitter This recent tweet shows the student beginning to use Twitter as a way to get help with understanding new vocabulary
    46. 46. Level of Participation
    47. 47. Level of Participation Eight out of nine students set up Twitter accounts The most active students sent 26 updates in 5 weeks The least active student sent 2 updates and one student set up an account but did not send any updates The teacher sent 28 updates, a few of which asked questions or led students to a website for some activity
    48. 48. Survey Results
    49. 49. None of the students chose to follow anyone else on Twitter
    50. 50. 62 % did not find Twittering interesting enough to use a lot
    51. 51. Most Students Used Twitter to Update Status or Thoughts Very few students thought of Twitter use as English learning or practice
    52. 52. 100% of students use Facebook, 50% use other sites as well
    53. 53. 62% said Twitter helped them know classmates better
    54. 54. 75% felt Twitter helped them practice and learn English Although they did not report that they used Twitter with this intention
    55. 55. 71% felt Twitter helped them feel more comfortable using English in this class
    56. 56. The Teacher’s Comments (edited)  
    57. 57. The Teacher’s Comments (edited) Do the students in this class work together well compared to other classes? Yes. They seem to have a tight bond with each other. I think that using Twitter in the beginning of the semester gave them immediate access to each other.  
    58. 58. The Teacher’s Comments (edited) Do the students in this class work together well compared to other classes? Yes. They seem to have a tight bond with each other. I think that using Twitter in the beginning of the semester gave them immediate access to each other. Do they seem to feel comfortable with each other? Yes.  
    59. 59. The Teacher’s Comments (edited) Do the students in this class work together well compared to other classes? Yes. They seem to have a tight bond with each other. I think that using Twitter in the beginning of the semester gave them immediate access to each other. Do they seem to feel comfortable with each other? Yes.   Do they socialize together outside of class? Yes. More importantly they have become supports for each other. When someone isn’t in class at 9:00, someone always calls them asking why they aren’t here.
    60. 60. Teacher Comments (cont.)
    61. 61. Teacher Comments (cont.) What do you think the effect of using Twitter was? . . . it was good to use in the beginning because it encouraged students to connect with each other – even if this wasn’t evident in their posts.
    62. 62. Teacher Comments (cont.) What do you think the effect of using Twitter was? . . . it was good to use in the beginning because it encouraged students to connect with each other – even if this wasn’t evident in their posts. Would you do anything differently? I would do it on the first day of class – set up the accounts together. Use it for social purposes for the first week. After that, I would ask them to find someone to follow and set up a forum where the students had an opportunity to share who they were following, what was going on with that person and how following someone related to their own language learning goals.
    63. 63. Teacher Comments (cont.) What do you think the effect of using Twitter was? . . . it was good to use in the beginning because it encouraged students to connect with each other – even if this wasn’t evident in their posts. Would you do anything differently? I would do it on the first day of class – set up the accounts together. Use it for social purposes for the first week. After that, I would ask them to find someone to follow and set up a forum where the students had an opportunity to share who they were following, what was going on with that person and how following someone related to their own language learning goals.
    64. 64. Teacher Comments (cont.) What do you think the effect of using Twitter was? . . . it was good to use in the beginning because it encouraged students to connect with each other – even if this wasn’t evident in their posts. Would you do anything differently? I would do it on the first day of class – set up the accounts together. Use it for social purposes for the first week. After that, I would ask them to find someone to follow and set up a forum where the students had an opportunity to share who they were following, what was going on with that person and how following someone related to their own language learning goals.
    65. 65. Teacher Comments (cont.) What do you think the effect of using Twitter was? . . . it was good to use in the beginning because it encouraged students to connect with each other – even if this wasn’t evident in their posts. Would you do anything differently? I would do it on the first day of class – set up the accounts together. Use it for social purposes for the first week. After that, I would ask them to find someone to follow and set up a forum where the students had an opportunity to share who they were following, what was going on with that person and how following someone related to their own language learning goals.
    66. 66. Teacher Comments (cont.) What do you think the effect of using Twitter was? . . . it was good to use in the beginning because it encouraged students to connect with each other – even if this wasn’t evident in their posts. Would you do anything differently? I would do it on the first day of class – set up the accounts together. Use it for social purposes for the first week. After that, I would ask them to find someone to follow and set up a forum where the students had an opportunity to share who they were following, what was going on with that person and how following someone related to their own language learning goals.
    67. 67. Teacher’s Comments (cont.)
    68. 68. Teacher’s Comments (cont.) Will you keep using Twitter? Yes. Next week I plan to link it to what we are doing in class (controversial topics). I will ask the students to find someone to follow and encourage them to gather content information as well as information on language use (grammar and vocabulary).
    69. 69. Teacher’s Comments (cont.) Will you keep using Twitter? Yes. Next week I plan to link it to what we are doing in class (controversial topics). I will ask the students to find someone to follow and encourage them to gather content information as well as information on language use (grammar and vocabulary). Do you think Twitter has potential for building community in the classroom? Yes. I think it is a good place to start.
    70. 70. Teacher’s Comments (cont.) Will you keep using Twitter? Yes. Next week I plan to link it to what we are doing in class (controversial topics). I will ask the students to find someone to follow and encourage them to gather content information as well as information on language use (grammar and vocabulary). Do you think Twitter has potential for building community in the classroom? Yes. I think it is a good place to start.  
    71. 71. Teacher’s Comments (cont.) Will you keep using Twitter? Yes. Next week I plan to link it to what we are doing in class (controversial topics). I will ask the students to find someone to follow and encourage them to gather content information as well as information on language use (grammar and vocabulary). Do you think Twitter has potential for building community in the classroom? Yes. I think it is a good place to start.    
    72. 72. Teacher’s Comments (cont.) Will you keep using Twitter? Yes. Next week I plan to link it to what we are doing in class (controversial topics). I will ask the students to find someone to follow and encourage them to gather content information as well as information on language use (grammar and vocabulary). Do you think Twitter has potential for building community in the classroom? Yes. I think it is a good place to start.      
    73. 73. Teacher’s Comments (cont.) Will you keep using Twitter? Yes. Next week I plan to link it to what we are doing in class (controversial topics). I will ask the students to find someone to follow and encourage them to gather content information as well as information on language use (grammar and vocabulary). Do you think Twitter has potential for building community in the classroom? Yes. I think it is a good place to start.      
    74. 74. Conclusions
    75. 75. Conclusions Students did feel Twitter use helped them become more comfortable speaking English with each other, but it is impossible to rule out other factors There was some evidence of students using Twitter interactively, but perhaps the lack of immediate response and overall classmate activity was a poor substitute for conversation If students had installed Twitter on their cell phones, they may have found it more convenient to use Over time, students may begin to discover new ways of using Twitter. Getting students to reflect on these uses collectively could raise awareness and lead students to adopt new goals for future use.
    76. 76. The Big One
    77. 77. The Big One “Learning is the education of intention and attention”. Twitter and other tools (or learning strategies) are only adopted by students when they are perceived as tools that move the student closer to some goal. As the teacher wisely noted, “The challenge for me will be using Twitter in such a way that students will experience and recognize the benefits themselves”.
    78. 78. Thanks!

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