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How To: Use Twitter to Learn & Educate

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Twitter celebrated it’s 5th birthday recently on 21st March & has covered a long journey since the first ever tweet done by Jack Dorsey (one of the co-founders of twitter) and then the millions of users & billions of tweets latter it has shaped & added a new dimension to the way we communicate. Jack celebrated the 5th anniversary with his tweet read by millions around the world . Twitter has had many uses in these 5 years whether it be for professional or personal use. Here we would like to discuss Twitter’s impact on education & how it can be used for better management in a class or training room.

1. Information Organizer: With Twitter, it’s very easy to organize the information around a particular agenda, theme or topic. Any relevant hash tag can be defined. When different participants in a room tweet about the topic being discussed with a particular hash tag, we can read all such tweets in a single stream by clicking on that hash tag or by searching or making a different stream for that hash tag on some twitter client like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Even tools like Twubs can be used to organize the hash tags. So, the students or participants can learn a lot by following particular hash tag where people usually tweet only about the relevant stuff. For example, #edchat is a hashtag used in some countries for educators to follow the discussion around educational material & techniques.

2. Parent-Teacher Interaction: If School & teachers have twitter accounts, this can be used very effectively to have individual contact with parents of the students & can be used to provide important information on the upcoming events, parent-teacher meets, cultural functions by students, report card etc.

3. Personal learning tool: Twitter has changed it’s tag line twice from “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening?” & now to “The best way to discover what’s new in your world”. It shows the way evolution of Twitter has taken place from just a casual network to more information, knowledge & news driven platform as it is today. So, it’s not strange when millions around the world follow relevant Tweeple similar to their interests or lists to gain knowledge & stay updated. Even school/college students can use it for information purpose apart from the professionals.

4. Holistic participation: Twitter has emerged as a very good tool to have real time interactions in a classroom while a lecture is being delivered or in a seminar hall. All the students or participants can contribute & participate in the discussion with each other using any web enabled device. It helps, as an online medium like Twitter removes their inhibitions of feeling scared to speak up or ask questions openly in the live session. All this has been beautifully captured in this video where Twitter experiment was conducted in a UT Dallas classroom by Professor Rankin.

5. Backup tweets: As Twitter doesn’t keep your tweets after a certain period of time, it’s important to backup your tweets since many of our tweets contain useful information which we may want to go back & refer to. There are various ways to backup mentioned in this post of RWW. I personally prefer BackupMyTweets.

What do you feel about these ways? Can you think of more ways where Twitter can be used in education or learning?

Slightly modified & cross posted from Harman’s Blog

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