In this seminar I will show some potential uses for the microblogging tool Twitter in teaching. Examples are in networking with colleagues, keeping up to date with relevant research and resources for teaching preparation, communication between teachers and students, self-promotion, and endless fun and debates. Apart from affordances I will also cover some less positive points. As any tool, the use of Twitter depends on what you make of it!
Seminar "Critical engagement with Twitter and its potential use in teaching"
Critical engagement with
Twitter and its potential use in
April 21st 2016
This seminar: explore why
Twitter might be useful in
the academic environment
for teaching and learning. I
might add some activities
and you are invited to join
in, *if you want*. I rely
heavily on examples from
I personally think that, if you
have a device with you, and
you want to try out Twitter and
how it works, trying out during
this session is great! But it is
not a workshop.
In tweets use the hashtag
I’ll demo this as well
• Assuming limited experience with Twitter. So if you
have, you might know much of this already
• I tweet everything mixed up but some only use it
professionally. Your choice.
• Grey area: T&L meets Research. For example, if
you teach “current issues in education” you can get
a lot of relevant information through twitter. So I’ll
mix it up as well.
• I try not to be an evangelist. Just see if it works for
My Twitter History
• Twitter since 2009
• Was ‘heaviest Twitter user local politics’ 2010
• Cold Turkey: removed account
• Started again in 2010
Tweet: your tweet is your message. 140
characters. Tweets can be seen by:
a: your followers who happen to be online at
the time and
b: anyone who happens to look at your
profile, and potentially
c: by the followers of anyone who ReTweets
ReTweet: if you RT someone else’s tweet,
it will appear in your timeline and your
followers can see it. Being ReTweeted
exposes your ideas to new networks.
Mind you, sometimes RT you just
because…well…because. Some are keen
to add “no endorsement”
@reply: you can converse directly with
someone by putting their username
(beginning with @) into your tweet – this
will ensure the tweet shows up in their ‘@
Your tweets will be seen by anyone
following both you AND the person with
whom you’re conversing. With a . In front
they will be broadcast as ‘normal tweet’
Reply with @
Hashtag: a #hashtag is a way to bring
together disparate users on the same topic,
without the users needing to know each other
already. Hashtags can also be a way to
archive conversations on a theme, and
discuss events or conferences.
You can click on any #hashtag (for example
#tlsoton) and find all recent tweets which have
included it. This is the best way to tweet
around a specific module (or academic topic).
Direct Messages and likes
Direct Message: a DM is a private message,
within the network, which only you and the
Likes: used to be ‘favorites’ with a star symbol
but now have become ‘hearts’.
In a teaching context you might want to ‘pin’ a link to
a course blog.
Sometimes discussions get out of hand
Back to the first poll also could tweet
Hat Tip to this presentation
Connecting with peers
Twitter is a good
networking tool – for
finding researchers with
similar interests, for
keeping in touch after
conferences, for finding
and engaging the leaders
in your field.
Keeping up to date
If you follow the right people on Twitter you will know
when and where relevant papers are published, when
calls for papers announced, when conferences are
happening, when developments in your field (including
policy changes) are occurring, when new technology
emerges which is relevant to what you do, whether
someone has made/used some resources that you might
use and what’s going on in HE.
You can tell Twitter about your research
outputs, your current projects, your
professional activities, teaching (but also
It can also be a promotional tool for all your
other social media activities too –get
people reading your blog and other outlets
by tweeting about it.
is the main account of the University
is the Times Higher’s very active account
is the LSE Impact Blog’s account
is the Guardian’s Higher Education account
Build outlets to follow e.g.
Using a hashtag for the
module provide further
interesting links to related
assignments for keen
students, reminders about
deadlines, clarifications and
answers to questions, third-
party opinions and stories.
1) Support module
e.g. colleagues Dr. Lisa Harris and
others with the #uosm2008 tag
“The backchannel… Allows students
to ask questions, emboldens them,
allows them to share with each other.
You can poll them during the
High risk, high reward.”
There is a tension between
‘academic’ vs. ‘personal’
2) Enhance a session
“Excellent for postgrads who
aren’t on campus – but also for all
students, to have regular
interaction outside the scheduled
lectures and seminars.”
For example, study groups.
3) Keep in touch
Some take away points
• See if Twitter can be something for you, it has had for me.
• But usefulness depends on your aims. Don’t do it just for
the sake of innovation but because you can get something
out of it.
• Sometimes you don’t know this upfront. Just try.
• Sometimes a ‘show of hands’ is more efficient than an
• Can be sending AND receiving.
• Personal or professional or both
• Discussion for teaching: I think personal fine as well, some
say ‘separate account’
• Often people already carry devices that can use it e.g.
• YOU are in control (e.g. “afraid it’s going to take more
• Easy to look up content related to the subject
• When you follow the ‘right people’ you get a lot of
interesting information quickly
• Engage in discussions (but also be careful there)
• Only useful if you use it
• Tell people you tweet by advertising your ‘handle’
• Can also link Twitter to other applications e.g. blog,
We need a final picture?
• Picture taken at end of session