Utilizing Social Media in the Classroom Part 1 - a Q&A with Paige Jarreau
October 18, 2016
In college classrooms, faculty of all fields try to find new ways to engage students and help them gain more experience communicating in the science world. Some of them turn to social media.
Science Communication Specialist for LSU College of Science Dr. Paige Jarreau utilizes Twitter live chats. I caught up with Paige to hear about the innovative social media tactics she implemented that benefitted both her students and herself.
Recently, Paige has set up live chats through the CxC Science Studio Twitter account (@cxcsci) with professors from other universities, research communicators, science entrepreneurs, and LSU Distinguished Communicator alumni (find summaries of those live chats here). In the first of this two-part blog, Paige explains her criteria for Twitter live chats.
Dr. Paige Jarreau, Science Communication Specialist.
Photo credit: fromthelabbench.com
LSU CxC: How do you go about scheduling a live chat? When do you know you’ve found a good subject or person to set up a live chat?
PJ: In my classes, and now often for the LSU CxC Science Studio Twitter account, I set up live Twitter-chats with subject experts. Essentially, I ask the subject expert or potential respondent to make themselves available in real-time during a set period (30 minutes, for example), and then using a hashtag (like #CxCchat) we come together during those 30 minutes for a discussion. This can be a cool way to get students in a science classroom to chat with other scientists about questions they have from lectures. And it isn’t limited to Twitter – you can have subject experts “take-over” a class Snapchat or Instagram account and show students aspects of their professional duties or scientific research while allowing students to ask questions.
"Through a social media chat you not only expose your students to a scientific expert in a specific field but you expose students to a public social media setting and show them how to use a digital media tool effectively, professionally and strategically."
Maybe as a faculty member you’ve been lecturing about different types of snake species in an introductory biology class, and you organize a live Twitter chat during class time with someone like Sara Ruane at LSU (@Sara_and_Snakes). During that time she could answer questions students might have from lectures or discuss a new snake species discovery with the students to supplement classroom learning. Of course you could also bring Sara to your classroom in person, but what if you wanted to have a chat with a scientist at a museum across the country? Through a social media chat you not only expose your students to a scientific expert in a specific field but you expose students to a public social media setting and show them how to use a digital media tool effectively, professionally and strategically. And the rest of us watching the conversation on Twitter benefit too!
LSU CxC: Any tips for other professors interested in using this technique for their classes?
PJ: Here at the CxC Science Studio (in Coates 151) we offer training and other resources for faculty wanting to use social media to supplement classroom learning. We are also working to expose students to professional uses of social media. On Oct. 19th, we are offering a workshop on Social Media for Science Students. So professors interested in bringing Twitter, blogs, Instagram or any other forms of social media into the classroom: Come see us!
Learn more and sign up for the CxC Geaux Science workshop here.