Teachers and Twitter
Teachers have begun to incorporate twitter into their classrooms
Twitter is Helping Students to Participate More
Teachers often have a problem with getting students to particpate in class. Even in college, students won’t raise their hand to answer a question for fear that they are wrong. However, a new solution has been introduce that may work in many circumstances. That solution is using Twitter.
Twitter is social networking site that allows people of all ages to chat with one another in instant message boards. Teachers have begun to incorporate Twitter into their classrooms.
At Lock Haven University, Dr. Reynol Junco conducted a Twitter experiment with seventy incoming freshman students. “In addition to showing more than twice the improvement in engagement than the control group, the students who used Twitter also achieved on average a .5 point increase in their overall GPA for the semester,” says Sarah Kesser.
Using iPhones or computers students are able to tweet questions to their teacher during class and after class.
Many Students are Embarrassed to Raise Their Hands
Many students are embarrassed to raise their hand in class, especially if that class is in a huge lecture hall. This becomes a problem for teachers, because it is hard to tell if students understand the material or not.
Greg Ferenstein states in his article that “classroom shyness is like a black hole. Once silence takes over, it never lets go. In my own experience, in a class of hundreds, the fraction of students who speak up is small, and a still tinier fraction contributes regularly.” Mashable
Another good thing about Twitter is that the discussion does not have to end when the class is over.
Twitter is a Faster Way to Communicate
Twitter can also be used to help students get into contact with their professors sooner and more easily. It usually takes a long time for professors to respond to emails that students send. However, students can use Twitter to talk to other students, a teacher assistant, or their professor for help.
Dan Klamm states that “students benefit from these extra communication channels. They can process information and contribute to class discussions at their own pace. They can more easily ask questions of their peers and professors.” Mashable
Other Reasons to Use Twitter
Dan Klamm states, “It’s important that students feel comfortable with whatever social media [the professor] decides to integrate into the course. If they don’t buy in, the experience will not be as rewarding for them or for you.” Mashable
Twitter is a very popular way of communication among teens. That means they already know how to use it. Sometimes teachers use a type of social media that no one in the class has ever heard of, and that makes things a lot more complicated. All students, on any college campus, have access to the internet through their phones or a computer, so Twitter is easily accessible to them.
Pros and Cons of Using Twitter in Class
Many professors would disagree that Twitter can be used to help engage students. Some students do not even have Twitter accounts, and they may not want to get one just for a class. Also, a professor may not know how to use Twitter to effectively teach a class, and so it would not be beneficial to the students.
Dan Klamm brings up another good point “this new layer of conversation also raises questions about appropriate boundaries, such as whether students and teachers can connect online as friends.” Mashable
Teachers and students connecting online could be seen as morally wrong to many people, and those people would speak against the use of any social media for a class. Students may take advantage of being allowed to go on Twitter during class, and would just use it for their own purposes.
These are valid points, however not all of them are true for every situation. It is true that not every student has a Twitter account, but they are free and easy to get. If students are dedicated and want to make Twitter an effective part of the class then they will use it.
Ferenstein, Greg. “How Twitter in the Classroom is Boosting Student Engagement” Mar
1, 2010. Mashable. Web. Nov 15, 2011
Kessler, Sarah. “Twitter Increases Student Engagement [STUDY]” Nov 4, 2010.
Mashable. Web. Nov 15, 2011
Klamm, Dan. “3 Tips for Teachers Using Social Media in the Classroom” Aug 18, 2011.
Mashable. Web. Nov 15, 2011