Tweeting in the classroom might not be the distraction many assume it would be. A new study has found that by allowing students to use Twitter to contact their teachers, many overcome their shyness and ask questions that they would likely not have asked using the raised-hand method.
The Australian outlet Courier Mail has the results of a study of a group of university students that shows Twitter to be a valuable tool in the classroom.
Students were allowed to use Twitter to tweet to their professors during classroom time. These tweets were anonymous, and appeared on the professors’ laptops via PowerPoint.
The feedback from students was immensely positive, especially among international students. The fact that they could tweet their questions without having to endure the stares of their peers was no doubt a big contributing factor in this experiment’s popularity.
One of the professors who was part of the study, Jeremy Novak, explains how Twitter might be useful as an education tool:
“Twitter is another exciting teaching aide that is highly under-utilised by lecturers and teachers in the education sector. Hopefully it would lead to fewer passengers in the classroom and allow those students who are less likely to engage with teachers, for social or cultural reasons, to participate.”
He also notes that there would be some obstacles to overcome if Twitter were incorporated into everyday classrooms. Students pretending to send classroom-related tweets but really browsing their timelines might become an issue, and boundaries must be set. The issue of students understanding social media better than their professors might also come up, he said.
Still, adding Twitter to the classroom is an interesting idea if implemented correctly. Students could also use it as a supplementary learning network, connecting to their fellow classmates via a list and exchanging homework help or study notes.