Twitter for teaching: Can social media be used to enhance the

Author locates the student in the context of changing student types. Students are seen as passive, surface learners, with a desire to earn qualifications to secure work, and to get through exams. This may or may not reflect the reality, but the author is stating a perception prevalent amongst third level educators.

Whether this is or is not the case, and whether it is a problem or issue is another conversation. Students have a right to be career oriented, with a focus on qualifications, employability and exam passing. It;s a valid and meaningful set of motivations.

There is some anitpathy towards this student type, but different forms of engagement need to be brought to bear to encourage the learning that needs to happen.

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have been widely adopted by students in
their personal lives.
• The influence of social media in education is largely unknown.
• Twitter usage has been found to improve some aspects of the learning process in
higher education.
What this paper adds
• Attitudes to learning with Twitter can be captured by the dimensions of interpersonal
relations, engagement and the necessity of class attendance.
• Course-related tweets do not affect perceived interpersonal relations with the tutor.
• The amount of Twitter usage has no impact on class attendance.
• Twitter usage is associated with an increase in student engagement.
Implications for practice and/or policy
• Using Twitter for teaching may help students engage in course-related activities
including organising their social lives and sharing information.
• Tutors need not be concerned that Twitter obviates the need for students to attend

“as Junco, Heibergert and Loken (2011) note, very little empirical evidence is available
concerning its impact on learning.”

Author selected twitter for the paper, as students had little previous knowledge, and preconceived idea of twitter. Probably not so possible now in most contexts. Author also noted that some studemnts didn;t want teachers accessing their facebook, but a separate twitter account meant no privacy issues came up. Thats'[ a thing for me to note…

Author posits there is some evidence to indicate twiotter increases student engagement (Junco et al 2011)(Chen Lambert and Guidry 2010) (Junco, Elavsky
and Heiberger 2012)

Author locates a new theory of learning as a function of the abundance of knowledge, and rote learning has been replaced by an ability to find information. He quotes Siemens, so his theory is Connectivism. “. As Stephenson (1998) characterised it: “I store my knowledge in my friends.” This reflects the fact that people increasingly operate and make decisions not on the basis of what they know but what they can find out when they so need.”

This is a networked model. It;s odd that he begin with the papers that he does, which occur in traditional contexts, and are not Connectivist per se…

That said, Siemens paper is lacking – in detail, support, evidence and data. There is no backing for his assertions about new learning, or learners, or networked modes of learning. It;s a problematioc assertion, in that there is no empirical evidence presented anywhere to back it up.

The questionnaire records, amongst other things (phone type, twitter usage before course) the students preferences, or perceptions….not always the best guide to what pedagogically works. Is the paper a discussion of students perception of their learning experience (which is very different to a study on the effect of their learning experiences).

“The aim of this study was to determine whether social media can be used to enhance the process
of learning by students in higher education.” The study aim and it;s questionnaire are not particularly related. The quesionnaire aims to find out what students percpetion of their twtter usage was. But that is not an accurate picture of whether learning was enhanced.

They do find that tutors who wish to increase their credibility with students need to include social tweets, along with their scholarly tweets. This chimes with general twitter practice, where a degree of social tweeting is advised as a part of your tweet mix.

They also found that twitter had zero impact on class attendance.

To read

Ebner, M., Lienhardt, C., Rohs, M. & Meyer, I. (2010). Microblogs in higher education – a chance to facilitate
informal and process-oriented learning. Computers & Education, 55, 92–100.

Jisc and the Higher Education Academy (2009). Enhancing learning through technology.
Retrieved September 10, 2013, from

Johnson, K. A. (2011). The effect of Twitter posts on students’ perceptions of instructor credibility. Learning,
Media and Technology, 36, 1, 21–38.

Junco, R., Elavsky, C. M. & Heiberger, G. (2012). Putting Twitter to the test: assessing outcomes for
student collaboration, engagement and success. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44, 273–287.
doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01284.x.
Junco, R., Heibergert, G. & Loken, E. (2011). The effect of on college student engagement and grades.
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27, 119–132.

Schroeder, A., Minocha, S. & Schneider, C. (2010). The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of
using social software in higher and further education teaching and learning.Journal of Computer Assisted
Learning, 26, 159–174.

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