Learning with Twitter
By Victoria Perlak (Intern)
Twitter is an invaluable tool to the public relations industry, as well as great way to connect with both friends and strangers. But this social media platform has also become a learning tool, a way for college students to actively engage in discussions with other classmates and professors. Professors are using hashtags to join students in conversations across campus outside of the classroom, and even gain insight from other Twitter members worldwide.
As a current college student, I think Twitter is a great way to engage students. There are a few professors at my school that use it as a way to create conversation outside of the classroom. As an example, in one of the sociology classes, students were given homework assignments to tweet responses to their professor’s question and follow their responses with a hashtag. The hashtag created a location where all the tweets could be read as a discussion and responded to accordingly.
A recent study found that students who were actively engaging with classmates and professors on Twitter found the course material more interesting, and received better grades. As a communication major, I really enjoy participating in discussions in the classroom. Though I have never used Twitter for a class discussion, I would think that the platform promotes the same idea of critical thinking. Combining your personal opinion with classroom topics really sparks more of an interest about a subject because it resonates directly with you.
Professors also use Twitter to post articles and other information regarding different topics taught in class for outside reading and overall more understanding and interest in the topics. These articles show up on the Twitter feed that college students are checking multiple times a day, making it easy for them to see. I’ve even seen students that I follow posting articles, and tagging their professor to read the articles they’ve discovered with outside research. There are plenty of ways that professors and students can use Twitter to enhance learning.
Using technology in the classroom is becoming much more common, social media platforms such as Twitter are great ways to generate interest and discussion beyond university. Social media has become such an influential part in the social life of college students; why not create educational value out of it as well.