Professor incorporates Twitter use in classroom
In the past few years, social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have become household names. Now, they are becoming “classroom” names.
Instead of prohibiting cell phone usage in her classroom, Lauren Jimerson hopes to direct it toward constructive purposes.
Jimerson, a graduate student at the University, teaches “Introduction to Art History” and integrates Twitter into her curriculum.
Jimerson heard about Twitter’s use in other classes but had never seen it in practice. After some online research, she decided to give it a try in her spring semester art history course.
“Twitter is great for art history because it’s a visual site,” Jimerson said.
Using the handle “#arthist106,” students can interact with their classmates and their professor even after the bell rings.
“I wanted the class to be more engaging and interactive, and this is difficult to do in a lecture class,” Jimerson said.
Emily Randall-Goodwin, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore, said she thinks using Twitter in her art history class is not only fun but makes her think about the class in her spare time.
Not only can the students post questions and comments for the entire class to see, but they can also tweet about things relating to course material, art-related topics they find interesting or comments about art they have experienced.
Jimerson said Twitter use is optional, but she does offer extra bonus points for participation.
Students who do not partake in the use of Twitter during class miss questions and comments posted by their peers as well as valuable study sessions with their professor.
“It’s a disadvantage for students not on Twitter,” Jimerson said
One student in particular visited Florence, Italy last spring and shared her experiences in the Twitter-verse.
Students can tweet pictures from movies, museums or real life experiences to create an interactive and inclusive online environment. Twitter is allowing Jimerson’s students to relate the class to their everyday lives, not just an upcoming exam.
At the beginning of class, Jimerson posts the top tweets on her PowerPoint presentation.
Students become part of the conversation rather than idly observing. She thinks this makes their world becomes a bit smaller, or rather, more familiar.
“In a large class, it’s hard for everyone to have a voice, and Twitter allows everyone to participate,” Jimerson said.
Glendy Soriano, School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, sees Twitter use as an advantage in a lecture hall.
“In large classes, not everyone can ask all the questions they want or make the comments they would like … but on Twitter they can,” Soriano said.
The students are allowed to tweet questions or comments on any of Jimerson’s material during class.
Both Soriano and Randall-Goodwin are not avid Twitter users but did not mind picking it up for the class.
“I think that social media should remain optional, because some students may not want to mix school and their social lives,” Randall-Goodwin said.
Although there are both upsides and downsides to using social media in schools, Twitter’s influence in Jimerson’s class seems to be heading in the right direction.
“It’s kind of an experiment, but it seems to be going really well,” Jimerson said.