Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Twitterverse

Twitter has changed drastically from what it originally was. It can be used for good such as with the Arab spring but also for bad such as harassment. I think this dichotomy parallels my views on the use of Twitter in the classroom. It can be used in great ways for education, but it can also be used improperly. Using Twitter to connect students with experts in the field, chat with other classes and even a research project through the use of Twitter polls are great ways of using it for education purposes. The big connecting thread for all of these is that there needs to be an element of organic use. Students should not be forced to tweet a certain number of times a day or forced to engage in topics that do not interest them. Just as with most educational practices it will require a nudge and sometimes a push from the teacher but it shouldn’t be forced down the students throats.

20 May 2019 – TALK TOGETHER\rSession : The Future of Europe\r\rSpeakers : Richard Wike, Director of Global Attitudes Research, Pew Research Center\rWith Rory Clarke, Editor in Chief OECD Observer Public Affairs & Communication OECD\r\rhttp://www.oecd.org/forum\r\rPhoto : © HervŽ Cortinat / OECD
Photo Credit: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Develop Flickr via Compfight cc

Twitter also can be hard to engage with people on topics for several reasons. The first can be that in a public forum anyone else is able to chime in and their responses are not always the most constructive. This can make it a tough tool for use in the classroom. This also can make it tough to follow a conversation since tweets can come flying by. I found this during the Saskedchat where every time I started to read a tweet 4 more would come in and bury it. This is not a fault of the people but the platform. One solution would be a slow mode for hashtags. This has already been used in live chats for live streams on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Another option is the use of Slack. Lots of what you do in the classroom may not need to be as public as Twitter and Slack channels could be useful for students discussing topics and allow side conversations to occur in other Slack channels.

The big takeaway from all this is that Twitter is one of many tools that can be used in the classroom. You should use it when it makes sense and works but not try and mold a lesson plan around it. Additionally with everything some students may not be comfortable using Twitter for school work so alternatives such as Slack or Microsoft Teams are useful to have in mind as well.

2 thoughts on “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Twitterverse

  1. Thanks for sharing! I also found #saskedchat a little overwhelming trying to follow different conversations and contribute as well. Like with any platform there are always pros and cons, thanks for addressing these and sharing other resources as well!


  2. Cory,
    Great post, I like that you have different opinions about the use of Twitter in the classroom. I am still on the fence about how useful Twitter could be in the class. I had a similar experience on #saskedchat, I too felt the tweets happened to fast but I liked the participation. As teachers, I feel that we don’t rely on any one tool to complete our entire careers and do what is needed of us but instead, we rely on an assortment of tools that have to be adapted to a situation we are put in. Twitter is simply another tool to be used at the teacher’s pleasure.

    Tyrel CK Bertram


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