Educators are searching for ways to put social media to work in the classroom. Twitter might fit the bill the best.
Students are already using the social networking platform to follow experts in their field and to stay informed on breaking news. It is also used as a personal learning network, linking students with peers and resources, according to Debra Beck, public relations coordinator at the University of Wyoming, in an article in the online newspaper The Evolllution, which focuses on lifelong learning.
Using a common hashtag, students can search topics and share discoveries with peers. Twitter promotes live discussions and interaction with a global audience, allows students and instructors to share class information and reminders, and gives students a way to directly connect with their professor.
However, to make Twitter work best, Beck said policies need to be established for interacting with classmates, respecting privacy, and protecting it from becoming a distraction in the classroom.
“Those risks are real. They also are part of online life in a space where, if students are not already engaged, they will be—or should be—as working professionals,” Beck wrote. “Modeling appropriate online behavior and jointly engaging in critical assessment of information can be an important additional contribution to their learning experience.”