Twitter in Education
The video The Growing use of Twitter in Education by Today’s Educators posted by EmergingEdTech on YouTube discusses how Twitter use is on the rise in higher education. K. Walsh quotes studies done in 2009 and 2010 that show a steady growth of educational uses of Twitter by faculty that approach around 5%. The study further discusses how of 1,372 educators polled more than a third of the faculty were on Twitter; more than 50% did not use it to communicate with students, 17% used it prior but stopped, and while some faculty were on Twitter over 47% never tweeted. Walsh discusses the pros and cons of Twitter use through direct quotes from polled faculty and notes how the respondents were very passionate in their feelings regarding Twitter. The educators were asked in the poll how they used Twitter, with most faculty using it to share information between peers and as a real time news source. The study also revealed that only 35% used it as a teaching tool in the classroom. In conclusion, K. Walsh makes a hopeful statement that Twitter is a tool that is available for use and educators need to continue to explore its future benefits.
Social media is an evolving educational tool and Twitter is one of the largest and most influential. Today’s students want up to date, real time opinions and information. The gap between educators and students is narrowing and this can only benefit education as a whole. All new technologies and tools have their issues and benefits, and Twitter is no different.
As a person who had no previous experience with Social Media prior to this course, I had no idea how powerful and pervasive it is in today’s society. This article was eye opening but confirmed what I felt about Twitter. Twitter is an excellent news source, helps with information sharing, but is still in its infancy as an educational tool. Twitter has faults or gaps that make it a poor educational tool. Its use of slang, poor spelling, and limited characters is what dissuades educators like me from choosing it as a first choice tool. Where it is as a tool in the near future is anyone’s guess.
I have seen the benefits of Twitter’s real time information dissemination and its ability to allow people all over the globe to express their opinions and to interact in a meaningful way. However, this does not influence me to currently use Twitter in my teaching as I feel it is too flawed a too as I have stated above, and I do not want my students to rely on a faceless tool for an important career as Nursing where face to face communication is key. I will re-examine its use as I continue to teach, but remain unconvinced.
Walsh, K. (2010). The Growing Use of Twitter by Today’s Educators (Video). Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com. October 31/2012.