Get Your Students Twittering:  Social Networking in Ornithology             Classes                Margaret Rubega        ...
The assignment:                                       It worked!• Post to Twitter at least 5 times• Each post must say:   ...
Evidence of a successful liberal arts           Evidence that humans are changingeducation, in fewer than 140 characters: ...
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Learning By Tweeting (Bird Behavior

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Margaret Rubega, a biology professor at the University of Connecticut, describes her use of Twitter as a learning tool for students of bird biology and behavior. (posted with permission.) More on Dot Earth:
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/twitter

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Learning By Tweeting (Bird Behavior

  1. 1. Get Your Students Twittering: Social Networking in Ornithology Classes Margaret Rubega Ecology & Evolutionary Biology University of Connecticut This is how we like an ornithology class to look What if your The Goal: class Give students an incentive, and a medium, actually for engaging with the material out of the looks like classroom this? Make them Limited to 140 characters • shallow, but concise Social – individuals or groups can“…a device-agnostic “follow” each other’s posts message routing • potential for synergy, or chaos system” (Translation: you • archiving facilitates grading, analysiscan post to Twitter fromanywhere, using any text-sending gadget or the web.) 1
  2. 2. The assignment: It worked!• Post to Twitter at least 5 times• Each post must say: 51 out of 56 students fulfilled the assignment – Where you are – What you are seeing among the birds around you 20% posted more than required – Relate what you see to course content• Posts ungraded, except all elements had Some are still posting to be presentWhen asked, “Has the requirement topost on Twitter for this class changedyour day-to-day behavior in any way? One student admitted she hadn’t posted, but said that knowing thatStudents said it caused them: she was supposed to caused her to notice birds and what they were“to notice birds everywhere”“to think about what I learned in lecture” doing.“to remember the lectures better”“to pay more attention to what is going on around me.” Found Canada geese have different strategies for guarding nests with chicks or At a beach in Florida and for the first time I eggs that havent yet hatched. realized how little seagulls flap their wings Chicks=silence, eggs=noise.12:54 PM Apr by riding the breeze and their wing 27th position2:53 AM Mar 9th 2
  3. 3. Evidence of a successful liberal arts Evidence that humans are changingeducation, in fewer than 140 characters: animal behavior, in fewer than 140 characters: Holden Caulfield once asked where the ducks go in the winter and never really got Taught a mockingbird the Jet whistle in his answer. He should walk by Mirror Lake around 8 minutes2:50 PM Apr 16th at Uconn today2:13 PM Feb 10th 3

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