Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Tweetups Reflection

I reflected on the first TweetUp that I did with my SPH 3U0 class a few months ago (you can read it here) and have neglected to come back to talking about it since, mostly out of not finding the time and inspiration to write. The end of the school year often does that. I decided I should come back to it and help myself reflect on where the decision to use TweetUps led me.

After the initial chat and then feedback from my students I decided that I was not going to allow the negative feedback to deter the idea. I wanted to give it a chance starting in a new unit and including multiple TweetUps to allow us to spread out the topics and have more focused conversations. So at the start of the unit we decided on three chats (they had to participate in at least one contributing at least 3 questions and/or answers to collect communication marks that would be integrated into their test, an alternate assignment was offered to the few who could not (or would not) participate) which also allowed us to lay out the unit and decide (roughly) on quiz and test dates.

This time around the "I wish" feedback I received from the class was more to the effect of wanting more questions answered, more people to participate, etc instead of finding it disorganized or confusing. They liked that it was more frequent and was review before quizzes but some did not like that they last one was the night before the test.

Overall it felt beneficial. It gave a chance for the more introverted student to ask thoughtful questions (and one in particular asked some great ones) and provided an outlet for a large senior class (29 students) to ask individual questions and find the misconceptions in their learning.

There were a number of students that participated above and beyond the requirement for their communication marks, which indicates that they found it helpful and enjoyed participating. There were also some that lacked the responsibility to remember when the chats were and claimed they really wanted to be there.

I continued to use the chats with the class in the energy unit, but it was more difficult to fit three in based on the structure of the unit (mini seminars involving research). The last chat was supposed to be a debate about energy sources (based on some of the seminar topics) but most of the class forgot about it - which was unfortunate considering they sparked the start of an interesting conversation in class right before the bell.

I did not use them in the waves/electromagnetics units, mostly out of getting busy and feeling that the waves unit would not lend itself as well to a TweetUp as Motion, Forces or Energy did. Perhaps I was wrong, but with our stellar week of raising money for Camp Oochigeas as a school in there and all of their classes being busy I felt it was for the best.

I would definitely try this again for this class. Next semester it appears that I have a much smaller class so I am not sure of the use I will make of it. I will have to see how the semester starts. I may use the hashtag within class for students to pose questions or comments during lessons that can be addressed within the class instead (or try an app I heard about that allows for this anonymously instead). The decision is still to be made. Any thoughts, ideas or opinions on this would be more than welcome!

Happy summer everyone!
And Happy Canada Day!!!

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