Does the use of Twitter Improve Education?


e=”One of the rare non-Apple laptops seen in an otherwise cool park full of cool people” href=”http://flickr.com/photos/yourdon/3405811164/”>cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by Ed Yourdon

There has been post after post acknowledging how educators love Twitter while also encouraging others to use it themselves. With that though comes buy generic viagra online skeptics (as there should be), questioning whether the use of Twitter is beneficial to educators. I have thought about that question a lot and I can give a definitive answer: yes and no ( I am 100% certain of this).

So to prove this, we have levitra shipped in the united states to look at a few things. First off, we have to look at how educators are using Twitter. Simply signing up for Twitter doesn’t improve anything in your classroom (similar to the notion that having a Twitter account will make people do inappropriate things and ciprofloxacin and amoxicillin cyberbully). It all comes down to the use of it. I offer two scenarios in my own use of Twitter below.

Scenario ABeing on Twitter for the sake of being on Twitter

When I first started Twitter, my first follows were my brother, Shaquille O’Neal and every other Laker related Twitter account I could find. Although I liked talking to my brother, I was more worried about seeing what was happening with my favourite basketball team. Then about two weeks I quit using twitter and then thought to myself, “How does this improve teaching and learning? Whoever thought that is seriously crazy.”

Scenario B -Using Twitter to follow and learn from other educators

A year later, I went back to using Twitter in a totally different fashion and followed educators, found some great information on things that were happening in classrooms and schools, and it took my learning to a different level. I started trying different things and engaging in conversations that sometimes took place on Twitter or went to another space because of Twitter (blog, website, webinar, etc.). I started learning about things in an abundance, but also started to question educational trends (flipped classroom, BYOD, interactive whiteboards) because I felt that I had built enough knowledge to feel comfortable wondering aloud about these trends.

So here is the thing when people that actually use Twitter challenge with the question, “does the use of Twitter improve education?” The first thing that I do when I see this question, is look at their Twitter stream, who they follow, and how they participate. I have seen an educator who follows no one other than 3-10 people openly pose this question, while another educator who asked this spends the majority of his time discussing travel and talking about things that really have little to do with what is happening in schools (on Twitter). I am not criticizing their use of Twitter or their knowledge of teaching and learning (I actually learn a lot from both of them while they may not learn much from me), but I am guessing that they probably don’t see the difference Twitter can make on the profession based on their own use of the service. When we actually experience Scenario B, it seems we are more likely to be an advocate for others to jump on the “Twitter Train”.

Yesterday, in my own school division, teachers in numbers not seen before, were sharing what they were learning and connecting with others on our professional development day. It was fantastic to watch and I was glad to see what was happening around the school division, while watching this group of educators engage in further conversations regarding their learning.

So to me, ultimately here is how you can find out if Twitter “works” for improving education. Ask someone who uses it about their engagement in their own learning and if that has changed because of Twitter. If you were to ask me, I would tell you that jumping on Twitter and using it how I do now, it has engaged me in my learning more than I have ever been in not only my career, but truly my life. I explore things that I am interested in, and I am exposed to ideas that I would not have heard of otherwise. If you ask someone else the same question and they say their use of Twitter has not engaged their learning, well then you have a different answer. Both yes and no, which honestly is fine to me.

If you are looking for a “number” as evidence, I don’t have one. All I have right now is stories and experience and to be honest, I am not sure that I need much more. Engaging in Twitter will work for one person, and will not work for another depending upon their use of it. But if I am engaged more in my learning than I ever have been, while also sharing what I am learning with others, doesn’t that say that “Twitter” works? It does to (and for) me. Do we really need more data? If more teachers focused on being true lifelong learners while sharing that learning openly, don’t you think education would improve? I know what I would put my money on.

 

21 comments for “Does the use of Twitter Improve Education?

  1. December 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Really depends on how you use Twitter, as you suggest. This is a bit like asking “Does the use of pencils improve education?” Isn’t it.

    And let’s also consider letting students use Twitter to improve their learning (that woul be the best,emasure of improved education, I think) Please see some of the work my students are doing on Twitter: http://www.ovenell-carter.com/update-a-students-take-on-note-taking-with-twitter/

  2. December 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for this post. I’d be curious to hear your opinion regarding whether the “public nature” of Twitter might unintentionally limit what educators (especially leaders) are willing to share and talk about online. I blogged about it here. http://wp.me/piTLs-4W

  3. Lisa Noble
    December 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    George:

    This is dead on. I have found writers and thinkers I would not have been exposed to before (some I agree with, and some not so much), because I choose to use Twitter as a self-directed professional learning tool. I regularly pass articles I find on Twitter on by e-mail to my non-tweeting colleagues, and clearly state that I found the information through Twitter. I’m hoping that helps people realize that yes, you do have to filter, but yes, there is amazing learning to be found.

    And I agree that it has expanded my knowledge and learning in other areas that I’m passionate about (knitting, my faith community and more). It’s a bit like Wikipedia for me – it’s where I start to find things, and it helps me dig deeper into what I want to know about.

  4. December 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    While this post asked some good questions, it still does not ask the ultimate question. That being…
    …Does the use of Twitter improve students’ education? Much of what is said here still holds true, in that, it depends on how you use it. However, I still have yet to see a positive use for students. While yes, improving your own education is a great thing and may ultimately help with the overall education of students, but shouldn’t the students come first in this question? I believe so and will continue to see where the benefits lie (if anywhere) for student use. So far, I still don’t see it.

  5. Tracy
    December 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Twitter does improve education. While it is a place for educators to collaborate it is also a place for students to do the same.

  6. January 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Hello there. I liked reading through the comments here and just how helpful the knowledge here is. Wouldn’t you agree with the fact that Ethernet may be the strategy for the long run? The cost of Ethernet for businesses is dropping continuously and is getting significantly less costly of computer ever was.

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