My previous post talked about making lists to organize the people you follow on Twitter. I was thinking more along the lines of personal and professional networking in that post, but lists can be essential to classroom management of Twitter assignments as well. If you have your classes Tweeting, a list means you can pull up only class posts on one screen. That makes assessing what they are up to as a group actually possible even if you follow a large number of non-students on Twitter. What’s more once you’ve made a list of the students in your class, those students can then follow your list so that they will know who is in their class. Everything class-related can be tied together in a nice package that way.
Another way to manage twitter assignments is through hash tags. Putting a # in front of any term creates a tag for that post, meaning it can be pulled up then within a stream of posts all identified as being about the same topic. In a class researching digital ethics, for example, tags might include #plagiarism, #cyberbully, #timetheft, or any number of other terms students are researching. The tag will become a hyperlink once the tweet is posted, allowing the students to just click to see a stream of posts with the same tag from the Twitterverse at large. It will also allow them to scan through their classmates’ tweets to quickly find information related to their own topics.
You might also consider assigning a class hash tag: #gerald1123 or something that will identify the tweets as belonging to a class group. This could become essential considering that the tweet stream is in constant motion. Unless you are Professor Johnny On the Spot, assessing Twitter projects might be problematic without more than one way to access class tweets.
As with most technologies, the best approaches to Twitter as assignment might be a matter of engaging in a little trail and error to find what works best for you and your students. These few simple items of Twitter literacy could prove very helpful, though, in working through that process.