Twitter is an awesome tool for communication, especially when it comes people with shared interests. Hence, Twitter is a very interesting tool to use in education, where people have common understanding and a common goal; to learn specific topics.
A teacher could use four different approaches when it comes to the use of Twitter in education:
The Story Approach
The Quiz Approach
The Collaborate Approach
The Fastest Approach
Before I explain each approach, you should understand that Twitter is about instant feedback, the limit of 140 characters, grouping and tracking discussions.
In a classroom, the teacher can get feedback within seconds on questions, and she will get the feedback in 140 characters or less from each student, and she can track and group all the answers and the discussions by using hashtags.
The story approach
Each student can contribute on writing a story. Writing parts of the story in 140 characters or less, and the teacher will add each tweet to the story. Or, the assignment is to write a story in one tweet. Providing a beginning, a middle and an end.
The quiz approach
The teacher asks questions on Twitter, and each student will answer each question in a single tweet.
The collaborate approach
This is much like the story approach, but it’s not about contributing writing stories. It’s about questions, answers and feedback. The teacher can tell the class that they can ask any question within a specific topic, and the other people in the class can help to answer the questions. The teacher is a more or less a supervisor, that will try to add angles and new details to the questions and answers.
The fastest approach
The teacher asks questions using Twitter, the student that answers the question first will win the point; provides the right answer and the first tweet).
The real power of Twitter in education
Using Twitter in education is important not just because it provides fast feedback and it’s a fairly new way of communicating. It helps students to limit themselves to 140 characters, and it helps to track all the communication. When a “Twitter class” is finished, the teacher can group everything and provide the students with a really helpful overview.
And if you thought communicating with 140 characters or less is easy, it’s not, it all depends on the topic and the conversation. For instance, what would your tweet be if you were going to give an overview of “your thoughts on the ongoing Copenhagen climate conference” or to the question “what should the US do to stop the war Afghanistan?”
… it should be a persuasive argument with a conclusion.