Twitter for teaching?

Twitter as a teaching tool continues to both interest and puzzle me. From a personal perspective, I use Twitter as as learning tool and have carefully been developing a network of people whom I follow. At the moment though, I use it for consumption and have only ever Tweeted a couple of times.

Whilst studying for H808 The eLearning Professional from the Open University I found and starting following #lrnchat, a fantastic resource for learning although I have not managed to actively participate as yet.

I also did a piece of desktop research (Activity 9-1 Desktop Research Twitter) into the potential educational uses of Twitter and found these to be greater than one might expect.  However, I have been unable to try using Twitter as a teaching tool as most of my pre-Generation X adult learners are not familiar with that technology – I may get an opportunity though with a new course I will start delivering in a few weeks time.  This is the sort of deferred action-reflection as described by Clegg et al 1 and seems to be something I am experiencing more often as technology moves so quickly presenting new possibilities but not always matched by appropriate opportunities.

Whilst reading #lrnchat daily paper, another way of using Twitter was brought to my attention. In his blog post ‘Twaining in Twitter‘, Terrence Wing looks at how to use the media features of Twitter to create a mini-course for learners. He has created such a Twitter course as both an example and a ‘how-to’:!/ISD20/favorites I have done something similar to this myself previously using Facebook for a specific group of learners (Facebook Don’t Fight It Use It) – never thought to think how it could be done of Twitter.

For my older adult learners, Twitter has some advantages over Facebook. All of my adult learners have mobile phones, although only one or two have Smartphones. This means that they can access Twitter (if we created accounts via the net first) – and most can access images but not video. I’m not sure that it would benefit the current group in terms of enhancing learning, but I can see how a short pre-course course via Twitter could be useful to introduce some basic concepts.

Something to ponder further and to try when a suitable  opportunity arises.

  1. Clegg, Sue, Tan, Jon and Saeideh, Saeidi (2002) ‘Reflecting or Acting? Reflective Practice and Continuing Professional Development in Higher Education’, Reflective Practice, 3(1), pp. 131-146, (online) Available from: (Accessed 30 December 2010). 

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