Twitter is a social networking and microblogging tool that features 140-character messages known as “tweets.” The focus is on communication – exchanging ideas and resources, providing updates, following events, and engaging in conversation. Twitter has gained some popularity in higher education as a way to connect with and build learning communities, track trends, and disseminate information.
Communicate with experts in the field - It’s not hard to find subject experts such as historians, mathematicians or authors on Twitter, many of whom would be willing and eager to tweet their expertise with your class. A simple search on Twitter can connect you and your class with experts on any topic you’re studying.
Monitor the learning process - Get your students involved by asking them to tweet and reply about questions they have, observations they’ve made, and ideas they have about what they’re working on.
- Engage students in current events - Have your students use Twitter to report real-time news events to the class. An example might be to set up an account just for tweeting current events. One idea might be for students to tweet a required amount during a certain time period (two per week, for example), with no two students ever tweeting the same news story.
Create scavenger hunts - Students can search the internet for websites, images and documents that match your rubric or unit objective, and then post these links to Twitter. Once a resource is up, then another group is not allowed to post it, thus motivating the students to work in friendly competition with each other toward a common goal.
Present bite-sized pieces of information - Another great use for Twitter is to teach isolated chunks of information that can be learned in any order and in small amounts. You can set up your own Twitter account dedicated to just one topic, solely for dispensing information, without links or class interaction.
(Matrix obtained from "A Framework for Teaching with Twitter" Chronicle of Higher Education, August 2010)
Examples and Testimonials
60 Ways To Use Twitter In The Classroom, TeachThought
7 Things you should know about Twitter, Educause
10 Tips for Getting Started Teaching with Twitter, Northern Illinois University
Interested in exploring Twitter?
Let us know! There are faculty at UWT who are using Twitter in their courses who would love to share their experience. Contact us and we will get you in touch with colleagues who have successfully integrated Twitter into their teaching. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.