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How to improve your classes with Twitter?

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Research has produced evidence that using Twitter in the teaching process might increase students engagement, and therefore improve teaching effects. So how to use this Social Media platform in teaching?

I recently came across a post on Impact of Social Science blog, summarizing a conference paper titled ‘Twitter and Teaching: to Tweet or not to Tweet?‘ by Sergej Lugovic, Wasim Ahmed and Matea Jocic. The authors reviewed 22 original research papers on classroom Twitter usage. Most of these papers find the social media platform a potentially efficient way to improve traditional teaching.

I personally have never thought of Twitter as a part of the teaching process, so I have not tried to use it this way. However taking into account how much time people, especially young ones, spend using social media and how much they are engaged in them, it sounds reasonable to have a try. It is also quite obvious that Twitter may help introverted students to participate in class discussions. But how to use this platform in learning?

I have read the review by Lugovic, Ahmed and Jocic, and some of the papers that they refer to. For those of you who have no time to do it on you own, I’ve taken some notes on how Twitter might possibly be used in the classroom. Please remember that I have not tried it myself, so use it only as a set of ideas. If you have tried some of them, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

Here are some possible applications of Twitter for teaching:

1) Post course-related updates, reminders about upcoming deadlines, seminar topics, further readings etc.

2) Post course-related questions that may help students understand discussed topics.

3) Provide a 140 character long summary after each class to reinforce key learning points.

4) Provide links to on-line materials, books, articles, videos, external courses or examples of related discussions on the Internet.

5) Enable students to post their ideas or supplementary materials (links to articles, videos.) Get them to share books and journals.

6) Collect classroom views and provide feedback. Answer questions raised after the class. It might also be a good idea to set up a regular Q&A session. Reply to all questions and retweet important points.

7) Enable students to search for examples of class discussion topics on the net.

8) Encourage students to tweet what they have learned.

9) Archive tweets to create a class story (using a course hashtag may help in keeping it organized).

10) Engage with communities around the subject of your course and show students people to follow.

Image by Alan O’Rourke, cropped. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

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