Last month, I wrote about making the most out of the first day of class, including using fun icebreakers. This semester, I decided to use an icebreaker that served two purposes: allow students to get to know one another and learn a tool we’ll be using in class.
Twitter Scavenger Hunt
For the past three years, I’ve integrated Twitter into my classes as a method for sharing resources and teaching digital citizenship. But many students are not Twitter users before entering my class. Each semester, my students complete a survey that asks them which social media platforms they use on a daily basis. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are used most, but only about 20% report using Twitter. Thus, most of my students don’t know how to use the platform and Twitter has a steep learning curve.
So this semester, my students completed a Twitter scavenger hunt. Like a traditional scavenger hunt, the tasks had them running all over campus, taking photos, and searching the Web for answers to questions. But my hunt required they use Twitter features, such as posting photos, using hashtags, and retweeting.
Before the class period of the hunt, students sign up for Twitter and enter their handles in a Google spreadsheet. I then request they follow each other. I do this because those who are brand new to Twitter will not show up in hashtag feeds until they have enough followers (Twitter is wary of spambots, so often new accounts won’t show up in searches until they have a number of followers, upload an avatar image, add a bio, and engage in tweeting/retweeting).
I also establish a hashtag for the course (#cofcmgmt if you’d like to follow along with us). This hashtag allows our tweets to be searchable and added to a Tweetdeck list. For the purposes of the scavenger hunt, this helps me to locate their contributions to determine the “winners.”
On the day of the hunt, I randomly assign students into teams. The team who completes the most tasks in the set time period wins. And while the students are out on campus, I’m following along, watching the live #cofcmgmt feed.
The next class period, I use TweetBeam to display the results of their scavenger hunt. Students get a kick out of seeing the funny photos each team took.
I think my students enjoyed the scavenger hunt because it encouraged them to be silly and have fun with one another, all while familiarizing themselves with a new tool.
Have you tried scavenger hunts with your students? Please share!