Monday, October 6, 2014

Educational Tweeting

While Twitter is commonly used as an avenue for social media, Education and other current event issues are taking over the Twittersphere. As I experienced during a TwitterChat, experts in their relevant professions are engaging in heated discussions over the latest news in the field.

One thing I learned from reading The Ultimate Twitter Guidebook for Teachers (specifically Can we use Twitter for Educational Activities?) illustrates how Education in Twitter is no longer a discourse between professionals, but an instant connection between students and teachers. One example of the potential educational uses include "Exploring collaborative writing", where Twitter can "promote writing as a fun activity...fosters editing skills, develop literacy skills; it can give our students the change to record their cognitive traits and then use them to reflect on their work". Another educational use is in collaborating with various schools from across the country. The site lists other benefits including

  • Keeps track of a conversation students carry on a particular topic
  • Serves both as a means of analysis and an object of analysis
  • Connects students to the real world
  • Supports reflection
While the article posits some great benefits, I appreciated their awareness to some of the negative effects in using Twitter. While I understand the above claim that Twitter can help students develop reading and writing skills, I wonder if this is really true. I think the fact that Twitter has a 140 character limit may pose a threat to grammar and literacy development, where students are forced to unnecessarily condense or abbreviate a thought for the sake of a tweet. Such condensing may put a well-developed thought at risk and may cap a person's reflective thinking. Other downsides that the article points out include
  • Can be too distracting for some students
  • Twitter is not to enrich and support rich learning for students

The second article I chose to read, Using Twitter for Teachers' Professional Development examined the use of Twitter as a Personal Learning Network (PLN). The relationship between Twitter and PLN is illustrated below:

Additionally, the article refers to 10 Ways Teachers Can Use Twitter for Professional Development. Such uses are:
1. Creating a Strong Profile Page
2. Keep your Profile Professional
3. Proper Use of Etiquette
4. Know Who to Follow
5. Use Hashtags
6. Use Twitter Tools
7. Use Twitter to Research
8. Share What You Read
9. Use Twitter for Teaching and Learning

While both articles create strong arguments for using Twitter in an educational setting, I feel that the only way I'd feel comfortable using Twitter with my students would be as a platform where I can directly communicate due dates/assignments or other quick news, post articles, or as a way for students to post questions. Anything beyond that, I feel would be limiting the educational process and hinder development. 

1 comment:

  1. You have highlighted some positive and negative aspects of Twitter. Each teacher has to find the social media tools that work best for her and now that you have explored some ideas, I think that you are in a good position to decide how Twitter might best work for you. Perhaps the communication of due dates, links to articles, etc. are the best ideas although you may find that a class blog would also work for these items.