February 04, 2013

Twitter, poetry, and zombies -- it's all good

Last week my students and I decided to try a collaborative writing experiment on twitter. We asked our twitter followers to go outside, notice sensory details, and then write a single line of poetry, which they could then tweet, using our class hashtag #nifkin and the hashtag #poem.

Everyone in the class participated, of course, but since we were doing this writing exercise publicly on the internet, other folks joined in. A bunch of former students – most off working jobs or in grad school now -- chimed in with lines of poetry. Colleagues from other parts of the country took the time to write a line of poetry. My students’ friends wrote lines. At the end of the day, when I went onto twitter and searched #nifkin #poem, more than 60 lines of poetry rolled past.

The next step was to create the poems. Most of my students used Storify to gather tweets and put them in whatever order they wanted. (You can see all their poems here.) A former student I haven't seen in years chimed in with a poem she'd written from some of our lines. I tried to write a poem using every single line, although it’s possible I missed a few.

“That was fun,” one student said when we talked about the exercise in class. None of them had used Storify before, but they’d all caught on really quickly. I’d expected the exercise to be fun – but also a bit silly. I had expected mostly nonsense poems. Instead, it seems like the participants took the creative writing part seriously. The lines of poetry were lyrical, profound, evocative.

For this week’s twitter activity, we’re collaborating with students from Georgia to run a game of Twitter vs Zombies. I spent yesterday evening in a video chat that included a colleague in Georgia, three students from Georgia, and three of my students. We planned strategy, figured out technology, and joked about zombies.

Join us on twitter on Wednesday – just search for our class hashtag #nifkin or the game hashtag #TvsZ – if you want to play. Or register at the official site, which our students just launched: Twitter vs Zombies 2.0.  Everyone’s welcome.

4 comments:

Elisabeth Kauffman said...

Collaborative art is always such an eye opening experience. So fun for your students!

tracynicholrose said...

That is unbelievably cool!

BrightenedBoy said...

You are more technology savvy than me!

jo(e) said...

BB: Actually, I'm not. I mostly rely on my students to figure out the tech part. (Come play twitter vs zombies with us! It will be fun.)