A new study from Michigan State University suggests that Twitter can be a fantastic learning tool – so if your professor tells you to put away your smartphone, you can show her these findings.
Christine Greenhow, assistant professor of education at Michigan State University, taught a class that required Twitter use as an essential component of participation. Her students were more engaged, more active, and actually got higher grades than students who didn’t use Twitter. Greenhow explains:
“Tweeting can be thought of as a new literary practice. It’s changing the way we experience what we read and what we write.”
With the number of US teens on Twitter doubling in the past two years, it’s no wonder educators have begun to look at the implications this has on how they learn.
Greenhow’s small-scale study found many benefits of using Twitter in a classroom, including: fostering collaboration, brainstorming, the ability to write concisely, conducting real-time research and reaching out directly to thought-leaders. She found that students were more likely to participate on Twitter rather than in face-to-face meetings in the classroom.
“The students get more engaged because they feel it is connected to something real, that it’s not just learning for the sake of learning. It feels authentic to them.”
The idea that Twitter can be a valuable education tool echoes the recent study that suggests that people who prefer Twitter are actually smarter than those who use LinkedIn and Facebook. It’s not conclusive, but the signs are there: Twitter is good for the brain… if you use it correctly.
Do you think Twitter should have a place in the classroom? Let us know in the comments below.