Twitter is a useful tool on many levels, but I recently had the opportunity to use it as a way to support a group learning activity. Here's how it worked.
The object of the activity was to try and make a PESTLE analysis more interesting for a 100 1st year Fashion students. If you're not familiar with the term, PESTLE stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental, and is a way to analyse the ways in which these factors affect a market, product or service. The activity involved taking the students to London and setting them the task of visiting places across the capital that reflected each of these areas, so Political might be the Houses of Parliament, Economic could be Canary Wharf for example. The challenge was to be able to track the students' activity and verify that they had visited places for each PESTLE element.
Students were divided into sixteen groups and each group was allocated a hashtag ranging from #PESTLE1 through to #PESTLE16. The students were required to use their smartphones to take pictures of each place they visited and send a Tweet which included their group hashtag. The students had to tweet a group photo of themselves holding a copy of the Metro newspaper to prove that they had all attended on the required day.
The course team took up residence in a coffee shop, each tutor was allocated three groups to monitor and the tutor was responsible for replying to messages from their respective groups. Using the Hootsuite social media dashboard, it was possible to set up columns for each group to make it easier to follow their progress. As the tweets came in, a screenshot was taken of each tweet and at the end of the day these screenshots were dropped into iPhoto. This made is possible to quickly generate a slideshow of all the best tweets - see video below.
The feedback from the students indicated that they very much enjoyed the activity, and the discursive nature of Twitter provided an effective way for the tutors to communicate with the students. Hootsuite made it possible to track and monitor the activity of each group.
Do you have an example of using Twitter for group work? If so share it below!