How to use HootCourses in your classroom

Ok, it may seem like we are beating a dead horse here (and that would just be plain wrong) by posting all this stuff about HootCourses but we want to be thorough. Patrick posted a video showing you how the service works and how easy its. We both chimed in on the topic with our own opinions. Now, although HootCourse was not my cup of tea, I will present you with a three ways it can be used in the classroom and Patrick may add more

One major limitation: All your kids have to have their own laptops or be in a computer lab to be able to utilize this in real-time


  1. Create a Twitter account if you don’t already have one. It would be a good idea to create a new one for use with HootCourses
  2. Log in to using your Twitter account
  3. Create a course
  4. Make sure students have created Twitter accounts for themselves
  5. Provide them with the link to the HootCourse when ready
  6. Provide students with an explanation of how to use it by linking to the video we have here on ITBabble (or by providing them with a printout or PDF of your own)
  7. It would also be a good idea for you to inform them how it will be used – whether they are to post questions, discussion points, etc..
  8. Remind students to have their laptops with them or that you will be in a computer lab

If you are watching a movie as Patrick suggested in his post, HootCourses really shines. Depending on your goal, you can have students post questions as they come up. Or, you could have them post observations (or both). My only concern is whether kids will be able to watch and absorb the information while they are busy messaging. Solution: Kids get a max of 5 questions and 5 observations and all will be limited to the 131 characters. Short blurbs and questions that can be then compiled by you and discussed.

If you are having an oral discussion but know of a few students who have learning difficulties, are excessively shy, have difficulty hearing or may have serious speech impediments, the essential questions can be posted by the teacher. Students can then interface with their blog account to post their reaction/commentary.
You the teacher will need to have access to a computer with internet access so that you can synthesize the information and draw upon these students’ responses to help make them feel included thereby engaging them further.

Vacation Work
If you are going on vacation (winter break, spring break, summer, etc) and there are extended assignments, HootCourses can be a good way for a teacher to keep in constant communication. Students can post questions and the teacher can respond with remarks or with additional resources to assist the student. You the teacher will be able to check in, say every 2 days, and see the questions in the Questions tab. You can respond to them individually and or post general remarks and links to online resources. This is especially great if it can be tied to current events because there are so many Twitter apps for mobile devices, students can immediately be notified that they have received a Tweet/Hoot with a link to a current event. Teaching in real-time 🙂

I hope these three ideas give you some actionable steps to take to make use of this service. I will ask Patrick to add his to this post (maybe in a dazzling purple color to differentiate his from mine 🙂 )

Thanks for passing the rock Omar. Yep I’ve got a few more ideas to reiterate.

One, would be to use this as a launch pad for your class blog. The class blog is great idea, but it lacks a real time chat component, this is where HootCourse can  come in. You can post your meatier posts, ideas, essential questions, on the blog and have kids use HootCourse to dialogue about it and share resources. Classy eh?
Another idea could be to use it to connect to other people using HootCourse or just Twitter. Make a class, but make it public and start some discussions, promote it a bit on Tiwtter and see what comes tumbling in. A little scary because you won’t be able to control what comes in, but it could be just what a class needs to get new ideas and perspectives on a topic.

My last idea would be to not just include your students, but how about parents as well. Parents often bring their life experiences to conversations that students (even teachers) seldom consider. HootCourse offers a way for parents to easily get involved without having to take time off work.

So there you have it! I think Omar and I have exhausted this topic for now, but keep reading, leaving comments, and be sure to subscribe for all the goodness IT Babble has to offer.

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