Teaching with twitter

As part of the advanced molecular and cellular biology course I will be teaching next semester, I have been considering ways to integrate social networking into the course. I would like to encourage students to use twitter as one of the ways they can keep current with information in the field. Therefore, I pose the question: Who (or what organizations) are the best people to follow on twitter in the field of molecular and cellular biology?

Please post your suggestions in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “Teaching with twitter

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  1. Hi Aaron – This sounds like a really great idea and maybe a good way to encourage students to think more critically about the information (some of it scientific) they are getting from the internet and social media. While I don’t follow many scientist on Twitter, I think you could make this an assignment. Each person/group/team could come up with 2 or 3 people they think the class should follow or that their team should follow. Maybe they would have to justify why, what that persons qualifications are, why they might be interesting, etc. I am sure that there are some very interesting and valid people posting on Twitter that aren’t “famous” in the biology world. I think this is rambling a bit, but I think your idea is really great, and that it might be a powerful tool with students. I would love to know how this goes over in the classroom!!

    1. Thank you Kelaine for your response and assignment suggestions. My original thinking was for this to be somewhat supplemental to the course, though you have suggested one way it could be more integrated. At the very basic level I want students to think of how social networking sites can be used for a means of information exposure. Twitter specifically is a great tool for seeing what recent findings are trending or sparking particular interest.

      Your suggestion that students take responsibility for searching out whom they will follow is great. Perhaps groups could then also be responsible throughout the semester for reporting back what information they are getting from those they chose to follow. This is one way students could get used to integrating this technology throughout their personal and professional development.

      In addition to the activities you suggest, I would like to leave students with a more comprehensive list of individuals they should follow. This should not, I believe, be limited to twitter but should also include relevant blogs.

  2. Interesting! I’m actually working on a similar project for my M.A. capstone. I sort of reluctantly started using Twitter early this semester, but it’s posing HUGE challenges for how I conceive of “information” and “participation” in an academic setting, so I’ve become a fan!

    If you’re on campus at the U of MN, I’d love to sit down and chat sometime and hear your ideas. I’m planning to recruit a few faculty from my department to start exploring Twitter over winter break, so if you’d like to join us, you’d be more than welcome! The plan would be to engage in kind of a mini Twitter scavenger hunt over break (I’m calling it a “Twitter Challenge”) and then come back together closer to the start of next semester to share ideas.

    I’d love to hear a biologist’s read on Twitter and the type of information we can glean from it, and I’m happy to offer up the resources I’m developing so you can see how they might be useful to you. Just say the word! My x500: linkx109

    Good luck, and I’d love to hear from you!

    1. Thank you very much for your input. I would love to meet at some point to discuss where our interests intersect for mutual gain. Until then!

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