Student Participation, Social Networking and HootCourse


HootCourse is a tool that allows you to leverage popular social networking media safely in your classroom. I've created a HootCourse for today's professional development and have invited all of you to join ;) Check your email for the URL OR simply type your thoughts below!

How would I use social networking to support student participation?

The answer is probably as simple as imagining the list of reasons why some students never participate in your face-to-face (F2F) classroom discussions.
  • some students are shy
  • some students are worried that other kids will laugh at their ideas
  • some students are simply not motivated to participate
  • some students wish the conversation were going in a different direction
  • some students would like to add other ideas but there is too much competition for floor time
  • some students don't like to speak publicly
  • some students hold themselves back from participating because they don't want to dominate the conversation
  • some students just like listening to others
  • some students aren't sure what they'd say
  • some students are learning English as a second language and the conversation is moving too quickly or they aren't confident enough to speak up just yet...
Hootcourse can provide a forum for rich discussion and it might just give the aforementioned types of students a place to engage.

For some, it may be a less threatening or intimidating forum for engagement. For others, it may be a place to get in a few extra points without dominating the conversation in the f2f class, for others, who prefer to compose their thoughts in writing, it may be just the thing to scaffold participation because they are given a little extra time to think and then contribute.


Check out this article from a recent edition of the New York Times for an example of how one school is using Twitter (on the open web) to support student participation:

Gabriel, T. (2011, May 12). Speaking up in class, silently, using social media. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Plus the blog discussion that followed this article.

And, to get you thinking....

Fisch, K. (2006, September 20). What if? Retrieved from