Friday, October 2, 2015

Week #5

Essential Question: How will data collection ‘look’ for me? What challenges am I anticipating?

Before I start collecting data I want to make sure all students understand how to use Twitter, and to go over the ground rules. Abe & Jordan (2013) suggest teaching students how to use social media to make its implementation more effective. My data collection will include the tweets sent with #nisbio. I will be focusing on 9 students who are in biology and physical science.

For the class I will use Twitter in, biology, I have given the students a list of what they can tweet about. They can either post what they learned, ask a question, post a resource (such as a video, article, picture, etc.), tell what they want to learn about next, or anything else related to class. I will separate tweets into 4 categories: learning, questions, resources, and a miscellaneous category for any other comments. The miscellaneous category may get thrown out later because I’m not quite up to full speed on Twitter yet, and I don’t know what other types of things my students could decide to post. If students post other types of useful things I will be inclined to include the data in my research. I plan to require students to post something before they leave class, maybe a sort of exit ticket.I will then give bonus points to students who comment on other students posts in a way that is meaningful to the class. I will also allow students to post throughout class as well, but they will only be required to post once each day. At least once a week I would like to include a wordle to further promote discussion, as suggested by Costa, Beham, Reinhard, and Sillaots (2008). I also hope to administer a survey asking students about how they feel about using Twitter in class. I would like to administer a pre and post survey to see if student perception of Twitter use in class changes.

In physical science I will be making notes about how many comments these 9 students make in class. I will eliminate all comments and tweets that are not related to class.
Then, I will tally up comments in the 4 categories, used for Twitter, for the 9 students I will be collecting data on. I will focus on one student each day, because this project will be four weeks, I should have 2 days of data for each student. If for any reason a student's data does not seem to match for the 2 days, I will either throw them out or try to collect more data if I can. I know I will probably not have the best data for this part, but I realize that I cannot collect data on all students everyday because it would take too much of my focus away from the class. At the conclusion of this 4 week period I would like to talk with each of the 9 students to see their thoughts on using Twitter.

The goal of all of this is that my students will learn how to post respectfully, and “deeply consider ideas in real time,” all in 140 characters or less. (Wynter, 2014) This is a skill that they will need in the future, as society becomes more digital. I also hope students will realize that what they post is global. They can reach people in all parts of the world.

Abe, P., & Jordan, N. (2013). Integrating Social Media Into the Classroom Curriculum. About Campus, 18(1), 16-20.

Costa, C., Beham, G., Reinhardt, W., & Sillaots, M. (2008, December). Microblogging in technology enhanced learning: A use-case inspection of PPE summer school 2008. In Proceedings of the 2nd SIRTEL’08 Workshop on Social Information Retrieval for Technology Enhanced Learning Maastricht, Netherlands.

Wynter, Amanda. "Bringing Twitter to the Classroom." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2015. <>.


  1. Are you choosing 9 specific students or is that the total number of students in your biology class? If you are choosing them, how are you deciding which ones you are going to choose?

    It'll be nice to have the hashtag and have all the posts go to one place so you don't have to search forever to find everything. I like how you have the four different categories that they can post in, so they have a choice. I'm all about giving students appropriate choices if the situation allows for it.

    I think this is a good research project, because as you said our world is becoming more digital and they need to know how to act appropriately in the digital world. I think that is essential to add to school curriculum, especially at the secondary level as they are preparing to go to college.

    1. Sorry I wasn't very clear. I have about 20 students in each class. I will be using the 9 students that are in both. Only 9 students have both classes, and I will use all 9 for data collection.

      I hope this will help prepare students to interact in a digital world.

  2. Sounds like a very interesting study. Just one main concern. You state, "I will eliminate all comments and tweets that are not related to class," and "If for any reason a student's data does not seem to match for the 2 days, I will either throw them out or try to collect more data if I can." It seems that this may compromise the integrity of your study. I am not sure we can just eliminate data. It may be worth while to tally/record these unrelated tweets. Perhaps they will tell you more about the effectiveness of Twitter than you might think. I would shy away from eliminating or throwing out any data.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. I probably should have been more clear on that too. All of those comments are really going to go into the miscellaneous category. At the end I will determine if they are useful or not. Honestly I don't really anticipate many of these comments because students probably won't use #nisbio on them.

  3. Sara,

    I am very interested in following your research as you start collecting data. I can't wait to see what it looks like when your students are using Twitter to talk about Biology and Physical Science. Have you thought at all about using surveys, maybe at the beginning and at the end of the research to get anonymous feedback from the students? I think the data collection you have outlined will be very useful, but if you are looking for anything else to add, a survey might be a good option.

    Good luck on your project and I can't wait to see how it goes!

    1. I have considered a survey, but did not consider an anonymous survey. I think an anonymous survey would help to get an overall class view, but I would still like to see how individual students feel about using Twitter. Part of my research will have to consider quiet students versus the more vocal students, so I will need some names. Thanks for the idea. I'm not quite sure how I want to do a survey, but I definitely think I need a survey.