My 2nd year students proved to me yesterday that their text competence in using Twitter or similar platforms to send messages about the world is fairly good. (You can read my reblogged text that Lena wrote about this, too.) This is how I did it and what I discovered:
1. Two students had a presentation about «Deforestation». In stead of endless note-taking, I asked the other students to just pay attention.
2. I created a task on the LMS platform and asked my students to write a tweet about what they had just heard.
3. Most students used hashtags in their tweet messages, but they made them with different purposes. Compared to the tweets that the other class made (they are in 1st grade), I found their hashtags to be more meaningful and more linked to content. Some also included hashtags that signalled their personal opinion of the subject.
4. Here are some examples:
«I was not aware of the consequences of deforestation and how serious it is! Pretty scary to see how it affects so many animal species. #terrifying #endangered #species #savetheforest»
«Total forest lost is equivalent to 5,7million European football fields every year. #endoftheworld #climateshift #Globalchallenges»
«Football vs. forests? Can’t believe we are losing forests to an area of 5,7 million football fields each year!? #nature #deforestation»
5. I could easily see who had paid attention to the presentation, and they were given a voice – all of them at once – with minimum effort and time spent. I also discovered that some had taken the example of how much forest is lost a bit too literally – you will not find thousands upon thousands of football fields in the middle of Brazil: «I still wouldn’t swap football fields for forests. #lad #footballersfordeforestation». I hope this one was a joke!