Modeling is one of the best methods of learning a new technology tool. I have been fortunate to have participated in two graduate classes that have utilized Twitter as a collaborative learning tool over the past year and a half. As a result, I understand the benefits that Twitter can bring to the online classroom and also some of the pitfalls to watch out for. Below are my top five ways that Twitter can be used or can enhance an online classroom:
1) Sharing resources and current events
It is very easy to share links in twitter. You can shorten a link using a service such as bitly.com. Students can click on the link from Twitter and are instantly brought to relevant resources or current events. This can help to deepen understanding of a topic or provide real-life experiences related to a topic.
2) Asking students questions about content or students asking you questions about content
I love the idea of posting a question in Twitter that all students can respond to. Responding in Twitter can appeal to both an introvert and extrovert student. Questions can be simple or complex. You can also use Twitter as a place for students to ask questions.
3) Encouraging student interaction and relationship building
Twitter allows for students to see what their peers are posting and to reply to their posts. It is a social media tool that encourages interaction and the benefits increase as participation increases.
4) Using a course hashtag
A course hashtag organizes posts made by the students or instructors of the online course. It helps to build community, but also provides an easy way to stay on top of tweets made by your students.
5) Connecting participation in Twitter to overall course participation
By connecting student interactions in Twitter to course participation and grades, students will be more invested in using the tool and will hopefully gain appreciation for its benefits. Students will most likely participate at various levels, but setting a weekly goal will help encourage some consistency.