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Incorporating Twitter and the VP Debate into My Classes


Published October 2, 2008 at 8:14 p.m.

So this is a blatant reprint of a blog post I just made over at my blog  Wasn't planning on doing too much of that but this one I think is appropriate.

You can lead a student to Twitter...but can you make them Tweet?

Tonight is the Vice Presidential Debate.

Last week was the first Presidential Debate.

I "hacked the debate" last week using CurrentTV and Twitter and posted my thoughts to #current. It was both really cool and absolutely overwhelming at the same time.

I talked to my students about it and they thought I was nuts. I could tell. If they were twittering during class they would have tweeted: "She's nuts"

But none of them seemed moved to take action to better understand the implications of mashing together TV and Social Media.

So this week, I have done what only a college professor can. I am DRAGGING my students to Twitter through an assignment. I have asked two of my classes to watch the VP Debate tonight and sign up for Twitter and tweet several times during the debate using #current or making sure they use one of the key terms (palin, biden) in their tweet so it gets captured by

Then, they have to write about their experiences in a discussion forum I've set up.

The classes are Internet-based Marketing and Technology: A Disruptive Force.

For the marketing students this is about learning how to play with new technologies, putting them in context and being able to assess how they work and if they are applicable to other marketing situations. As I told my students, if you don't play, you won't ever know if something like this could be useful elsewhere.

For the Tech as a D-Force class this is about disruptive technologies and exploring how technology has influenced discourse — and is influencing how we can engage with the debates... sort of.

Most of my students have been resistant to Twitter. They "don't get it" and don't want to get it.

Tonight I'm making them try it.

We will see what happens.