Tweaching with Twitter

Posted September 15th, 2010 by Paul Ayres

Last week the Virtual Training Suite team attended the Economics Network e-learning symposium.

Among a series of presentations on how economics lecturers were using technology, Paul Latreille of Swansea University spoke about “Tweaching for Economists“.

Paul emphasised the thought process that he had gone through before using Twitter in his teaching. Economics Network surveys have highlighted the absence of a shared responsibility in learning and a desire amongst students to have a more active role in their learning.

Paul was looking for a way of encouraging greater student engagement to produce learning via interaction, but it was important not to use a tool just for the sake of it – technology last, not first.

He recounted a number of ways in which Twitter can be used to enhance teaching:

  • By using course codes or a course based accounts you can Tweet interesting websites / readings to students.
  • You can contribute items of more than 140 characters in length by using TwitLonger.
  • Add pictures, images and graphs by using TwitPic.
  • Manage personal, professional or course based accounts in one place via HootSuite with the added bonus of being able to schedule Tweets e.g. reminders about assignment deadlines or lecture times.
  • As an alternative to PRS (Personal Response Systems) or clickers by using TwtPoll.
  • And he heard about all these possibilities, just by following people on Twitter.

Or to put it more formally, you could see some suggestions for Tweaching via this Framework for Teaching with Twitter (Rick Reo, adapted by Mark Sample).

Twitter is a difficult service to recommend within a Virtual Training Suite tutorial as students are often reluctant to engage with Social Media for educational purposes, but it is refreshing to see such innovation in teaching that encourages more active learning.

More top tips and links to websites are available by following @VTStutorials on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Elizabeth Chairopoulou says: September 17, 2010 @ 17:31

    “students are often reluctant to engage with Social Media for educational purposes”

    I agree 100% (being a PhD student shy of ‘coming out’ online). People defy the inventor/provider of technologies and use them in innovative ways that they could never have imagined, or intended. I’ve been using Twitter to pick the brains of established academics and institutions, and while this is no substitute for traditional learning methods, it has proved useful.

    I’m sure Twitter’s creator didn’t have education in mind when he came up with the idea.

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