While all social media sites serve some useful niche or they’dlikely disappear, twitter has significant potential for rigorouslearning application.Seriously.We’ve explored this concept before, with our popular twitterspectrum, 25 Ways To Use Twitter In The Classroom ByComplexity, and our recent 60 Ways To Use Twitter In TheClassroom By Category.
1. Passive or Active EngagementThe nature of a twitter stream allows it to beused as a passive or active learning tool: learnerscan watch, skim, and surf, or tweet, connect, andproduce. This allows you, as the educator, toplan for a variety of roles for the learner by task,group, or as a matter of learning personalization.
2. AuthenticityTwitter is a pop culture social media platformthat is used by millions not by compulsion, butby choice. It also lacks the bleaching of formalacademia, and immerses learners in structures,patterns, and language that are familiar. Andwhile not all learners use twitter, few would beconfused by it.
3. Content-Area InclusiveBut perhaps a more critical matter of authenticityis that it’s full of original, real-world, diverse andhighly-dynamic content—the opposite of atextbook, offering reams of digital content thatmust then be parsed, evaluated, andimplemented–a sort of raw materials approach toinformation.
4. In-Depth AnalyticsWhile the analytics available for twitter accountsis so-so out-of-the-box, 3rd party apps havebolstered the digital twitter ecology. These havepowerful real-time monitoring tools that fostercomplex problem-solving, audience analytics,and trend transparency that can work for learnersin any course, classroom, or grade level.
5. FamiliarityBecause it’s familiar, the demand for proceduralknowledge is reduced so that content and taskcan be focused upon.
6. PersonalizationTwitter accounts are free, allowing for theaccount names, avatars, following list, and ofcourse the tweets themselves to unique anddifferentiated.
7. AccountabilityBecause twitter accounts are open and digital,old tweets are instantly archived for grading,revisiting, and reference by anyone at any time.This kind of public display of thinking requiresplanning, but with safe-guards in place, can be aboon to the publishing and dissemination ofthinking and performance.
8. Digital ConnectivityDigital platforms are connected—tweet yourinstagram photos, post your iTunes playlist tofacebook, and so on. This kind of connectivityallows more than one platform to be usedsimultaneously, encouraging higher-levelthinking skills such as analysis, evaluation,synthesis, and creation.
9. Instant AudienceWhile students needn’t publish thinking or sharework on twitter to benefit from it, if you do therewill be an instant audience. And even if theaccount has few followers, @ messaging,hashtags, and direct access to experts, mentors,and even celebrities can provide instant visibilityfor a student’s work.
10. Flexible ActuationEven as a simple observation tool, withcategories like trending topics, #hashtags, andlists, twitter is flexible enough to be used read-only. And for those users who do tweet, itsoriginal function as a micro-blogging platformcan be helpful for hesitant learners who maywrite little else without the inherent brevity oftwitter to ―encourage.‖
Related ContentSee TeachThought’s 10 most popular posts onusing twitter in the classroomSee TeachThought’s 10 most popular posts oniPad integration in the classroom.
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