Monday, November 25, 2013

#Twitter Chats in High School History

Last Thursday I used twitter as a tool to generate a discussion with students in both of my Canadian history classes to formatively assess their understanding of the concepts related to cause and consequence (Seixas and Morton). The idea of using a twitter chat came from the process of developing my pln. I have been participating in various #edchats and have found that they were very engaging to me. They are engaging because of the global connections I have been able to make,  forced reflection, and most importantly the real time feedback. So I thought if it was engaging for me, perhaps this concept could be extended in my classes. I gave students in my history classes 3 days to research the Red River Rebellion, with the understanding that they would be answering questions in a twitter chat. I invited my pln on twitter and a few friends/colleagues to join to show the students that we were part of a bigger discussion. The kids were very engaged, even more so when they realized that there were "visitors" in our discussion.

I archived both chats below.

Red River Discussion AM
Red River Discussion PM
**Note: If you have not done a #chat, these chats follow a question and answer format. In these archives the chat begins at the bottom, and the conversation moves to the top.

My ultimate goal with this concept is to have my students facilitate a Twitter type discussion with a class from outside our region. I would love to compare views of an international event like the War of 1812 with a history class from the US. It would be interesting for students to see a completely different perspective, and of course, share our Canadian perspectives with a receptive American audience!

This chat was valuable to me, and I will do them again. Each student was responsible to contribute to the conversation by sharing their own individual response to each question, and also to challenge other people’s ideas in a responsible and academic way. It made students accountable and forced participation from students who would not have participated or even paid attention had we had a traditional class discussion. Lastly, the impact of having "visitors" in our chat changed the dynamic of the discussion. Students took an interest in asking visitors questions, and began to formalize more thorough responses based on the feedback they were getting from others within the discussion.

If you are teach high school history and would like to connect with my class through a twitter chat, feel free to contact me.


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