The theory of PBL is that students will be engaged and want to find the answers. As a facilitator I have seen many students frustrated when they realize that we are no longer spoon feeding them. But sometimes this frustration grows to a point where learning no longer takes place. I believe one reason this happens is because the amount of information on the internet can become overwhelming. And reading or gathering information from the Internet is only one way, leaving students with new questions (quite often ones that a teacher may not be able to answer). It is my hope to help students narrow down the amount of information and at the same time provide a means to connect with experts. Twitter's framework is set up to do this. My students have been using Twitter all year, mostly to share out, but now I am asking them use Twitter to receive information and to converse with experts in the field.
To get started I had the students complete the survey "How Do You Research". Although the survey data speaks volumes it was a student's question about the survey that got me excited, "Do we answer this as we researched before coming to KIH or how we research now?"
The data suggest that many students are beginning to use Twitter but it also indicates that there is a large area of growth to using Twitter in a way that will create conversations between the student and an expert (and the content).
To encourage 2-way research I used our Thursday "Tweet Start" to have students find and follow an expert. They did this by searching their topic (with a # in front of it). Students then looked for interesting Tweets, next they checked to see who and how many were following the individual. If it was promising they followed the "expert".
Students will continue to build their "expert list" as the project moves forward. Using DM (direct message) will be our next step, this will allow students to converse with the expert. Until then they can tweet @<expert>.
By connecting with an expert or experts students will increase their opportunities to ask question and confirm their beliefs or correct their misunderstandings.