Follow the Communicating, Assessing and Collaborating (CAC) model for successful uses of social media in the classroom.
Twitter is a microblogging SNS that allows users to follow people or organisations and post their own ‘tweets’ to engage with their own followers. Tang and Hew (2017) define Twitter as ‘one of microblog services that allow users to send and receive information real-time’. The real time functionality means Twitter is dynamic and that the multimodal content is continuously changing over time. This may appear obvious, however content on other interactive educational portals such as university Blackboard, Moodle and Abyasa often remain static. Likewise, Twitter is free, meaning educational resources can be shared from all over the world at no cost, hence why teachers have exploited Twitter in various studies, durations and disciplines (Haythornthwaite 2016; Junco et al. 2011; Landson et al. 2015). The benefits of using Twitter expand beyond connecting with fellow professionals, as in education where it has been documented to promote learning and improve engagement (Lewis 2017; Marich 2016; McKay et al 2014; Juno et al. 2011; Junco, Elvansky & Heiberger 2013). However, right now, educators mainly use Twitter for communication purposes outside the classroom (Tang and Hew 2017; Alias et al. 2013; Buettner, 2013; Shabgahi et al. 2013). Haythornthwaite (2016) presented a case study which shows Twitter among the top two learning tools an educator expressed an interest in working with in the classroom, with 69% enthusiastic about Twitter. Thus, it is imperative that researchers and educators alike, know the successful and meaningful incorporations of Twitter and what can be further improved. (Tang and Hew 2017). Previous applications of Twitter are shown in Table 1. The categories have been inspired through Tang and Hew’s (2017) work.Utilising Twitter initially grew within the social sciences, however with an increasing familiarity of the platform, Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals have begun exploring Twitter as a supplement to teaching (Bahner et al. 2011). Instances of this form of pedagogy tend to lay within ‘Communicating’ and include classroom instruction such as tweeting relevant research papers (Bahner et al. 2011; Blessing et al. 2012). A major difficulty in implementing Twitter in the classroom is making sure educators are prepared with basic operational skills, such as the mechanism to follow/unfollow users, and the understanding the hashtags. Studies have shown neither instructors nor learners are automatically adept to use Twitter (Junco et al 2011; Tang and Hew 2017; McKay et al. 2014). When participants become familiar with Twitter, they rate it positively, yet did have concerns around distractions on the platform when in classrooms (Junco et al. 2013). Thus, Twitter can be at its most useful when both the instructor and learner are heavily involved and have clear educational expectations.
Further research and graphics on this will be published in late 2021
|Communicating||Teacher posting course materials|
Students using a hashtag to communicate
Students tweeting in a foreign language to practice in MFL
|Assessing||Students creating tweets using specific contents learnt during class time |
Teacher posting surprise questions in class on Twitter
Students debate and discuss on Twitter
Students answer questions via direct message after class
Students tweet their answers in response to questions which were worth 5% of the overall course grade
|Collaborating||Students creating a joint diary/log on their timeline |
Students coordinating a time in a volunteer project
Using Twitter to negotiate time and groups