Most people think of Twitter (a social networking and microblogging service utilizing instant messaging, SMS or a web interface) as that “weird social network where everyone has an opinion and is just screaming at the top of their lungs at each other- hoping someone will listen.” I am not most people; I fell in love with Twitter in 2007, while I was living abroad. The reason I fell in love with Twitter is because I saw the learning potential in it. I used Twitter as my news source, my things to do list, and my means of communication. Now I know what you are thinking how can I use Twitter to learn?
Educators can use Twitter to create a thought provoking conversation with students outside the classroom and be role models on how to engage on a professional level. (This is a great resource for everyone: 25 Twitter Tips For Students, Parents, And Teachers) The great thing about Twitter is that not only can students utilize it, but educators and educational advocates can use it as well. Below are some common hashtags.
|#CommonCore||Discussion around the Common Core State Standards|
|#earlyed||Early learning and pre-K education conversation|
|#edchat||General conversation about education; official #edchat takes place every Tuesday at noon and 7:00 PM EST|
|#edreform||Dialogue about the education reform movement|
|#edtech||Education technology discussion|
|#highered||Conversation about higher education|
|#ntchat||Chat for new teachers|
|#stuvoice||Chat about issues relevant to students; Monday nights at 8:30 PM EST|
How can students utilize Twitter in the educational aspect? Students can you use Twitter for their daily reading of up to the minute news as well as tracking “current” conversations. A study released in October 2012 released from Michigan State University discovered that courses that engage with students on Twitter may actually see higher interaction and better grades. In the report, “Twitteracy: Tweeting as a New Literary Practice,” Christine Greenhow, a Michigan State professor and coauthor of the study, found that students who were actively engaging with classmates and the instructor on Twitter were more interested in the course material–and ultimately received higher grades.
Analyses of Twitter communications showed that students and faculty were both highly engaged in the learning process in ways that transcended traditional classroom activities. This study provides experimental evidence that Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students and to mobilize faculty into a more active and participatory role.
“The students get more engaged because they feel it is connected to something real, that it’s not just learning for the sake of learning,” Greenhow said in a press release. “It feels authentic to them.”
Many students use twitter as resources to find article and journals of past events. A great example of using a hashtag to find sources would be #Egypt. That hashtag was used for the Arab spring as well as an always engaging hashtag on geopolitical issues and current events in that country. While student who are studying #CyberCrime can follow a plethora of conversation on the ever evolving laws and issues. Students can also follow professionals in their desired field and mimic professional tweeting habits to attract potential employers to view their feed.
To get the full effect of Twitter as an educational resource student should use all the tools provided by Twitter. This would involve following the daily ”Trends”, the discover tool, or curating a list of individuals to follow. Make sure as a student when you create your profile that you also develop you brand. Make sure you tell people what you are about. You can do that by creating a great bio paragraph. Twitter is all about connecting with people you find influential, interesting and what you can gain from each other. Students can also follow their school hashtags to find the low down on what is happening at or around campus.
You can follow me on Twitter @RachelA_Adler, my tweets are all over the place. I mostly tweet about my favorite TV shows as well current events or politics. Come join me in the conversations.
By Rachel A. Adler
Online Learning Tips Contributor