The motivation to introduce “clickers” was twofold. The main goal was to increase student participation in classroom discussions, but also to provide the instructor with instantaneous feedback from students during lecture delivery. Introduction of social media to the learning process can be summarized as following. We chose three social media sites: Twitter, Facebook and Google+. We chose not to include our university's learning management system, Desire 2 Learn, as information is not easily shared between social media and that platform. Next step was to define a mission statement of this project, and set rules of conduct. Also, a grading policy was developed in such a way to encourage and reward student participation.
The introduction of “clickers” and the social media use in Introduction to Earth Science course resulted in increased student performance, as measured be median grade in the course. Also, an qualitative analysis of student responses given in an anonymous survey supports the benefits of introducing these teaching methodologies in introductory Earth science courses. In the future, we hope to explore different applications for mobile devices and their introduction in such courses. We see these results just as a starting point for a broader discussion on enhancing teaching of introductory Earth science courses in higher education.