Twitter is not a new name for anybody who even remotely knows how to use the internet. Even then, for those uninformed, Twitter is a micro-blogging, social networking platform which enables its users to send messages of up to 140 characters which are known as tweets. Twitter ranks at number four, after Facebook, Youtube and Instagram, with an approximate 328 million monthly users.
While the majority of Twitter visitors are aged in the 18-29 demographic, about 23% of its users happen to be in the 30-49 age bracket. Now this demographic may also include some teachers. Could the educational system be an active member of the tweeters group?
It goes without saying that Twitter has an awesome networking and resource sharing potential and the educational system could tap into these potentials to improve the mode of providing education to students in many different ways. Let us have a look at the ways Twitter can be beneficial as a next-generation learning tool.
Many parents and teachers feel that it is imperative to have some sort of contact between them on a regular basis. Instead of the parent-teacher meetings held once every three months. This can facilitate a better understanding on part of the teacher as parents can help them keep track of whether the the children are doing their allotted homework or not. The parents can also get a regular report on their children’s progress in school. And what if the interaction between the parents and the teachers becomes real-time? This is possible with the use of Twitter where the parents can sign up for Twitter and follow the respective teachers of their children and then they can communicate with each other in real-time.
Children are given many projects in their academic career. Some are easy and do not need much help or research for their completion, while others like essay writing need a lot of research from the students. Students can use ‘#’ for research assistance. An example of this is ‘#edtech’. This could provide the tools for researching different projects handed over to the students from the comfort of their homes.
Networking and collaborating is a part of the research which is done before every project. Many times, it may happen that some student may not be able to get all the research details about a project. During such times, students can network among themselves using Twitter. They can collaborate and amalgamate the individual research done by them. Together, they could make a good project. This can also be helpful for weaker students who aren’t able to finish their project on time only because they do not know how to go about researching.
The Twitter backchannel has the potential to develop engaging, dynamic, realistic and genuine lessons. The teachers can create a Twitter backchannel by using hashtags during lectures and presentations and also when they are planning to demonstrate some technicalities. On the other hand, the students can question, comment or react to the live lectures and presentations which will appear on everyone’s screens. All students can comment and react to them. All these interactions provide fodder for the teachers, which can be the basis through which teachers gauge the level of interest and participation of their students.
Twitter is not just a keep-in-touch platform but also a place which can bring about huge changes in different sections of the society.