First, a disclaimer: I make no claim to know what I’m talking about. I have never used twitter, and am looking at it to consider whether I should bother or not. My initial reaction is “Oh no, not another thing to get my head round” but maybe I can be persuaded that there is more than first appears. I’ll try to answer a few of my own questions as I go along, but please scream at me if you feel I’ve got it all wrong!
What’s the point of Twitter?
According to http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-ways-to-use-twitter-in-education/ Twitter has carious uses in an educational setting:
- Teachers can connect to their students on a wider level as well as on a personal level.
- Interactions can be taken beyond the classroom as Twitter is omnipresent in our smartphones and laptops.
- Twitter allows for customization of learning depending on the student i.e. differentiating learning for different students.
- Twitter can be used to quickly connect to multimedia resources (e.g. YouTube or Vine) and turn education into edutainment.
- Twitter gives new opportunities to connect to other learning communities and new educational content.
- The very nature of Twitter – brief and to-the-point makes for rapid broadcast of learning.
How can I do all that in 140 characters?
- Apparently I could use Twitter for conversation after class (can’t I do that on Moodle and have one less thing to worry about?)
- I can set up quizzes and send out notices to students (see above point re. Moodle)
- I can refer students to useful websites, and encourage them to follow their own areas of interest (see above point re. Moodle)
- I could set up a newspaper, like “The Tweeted Times” (this at least seems worthy of consideration as an EFL tutor)
- Twitter games like Outwit Me or Artwiculate to engage students with English in a fun way. (this also might be worth looking at)
Should I do it?
It seems as if I wold have to dedicate lots of time to setting myself up on Twitter. What can it offer me and my students that a combination of Moodle/email can’t?
I remain sceptical – but open to persuasion if you can show me how it works in practice!
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I was very like you, Laura, so I did the 10 Days of Twitter earlier in the year to educate myself. These are my conclusions so far:
– I do find it useful for alerting me to interesting links, websites, resources, articles and people. I went to an MFL event recently and found. I ‘knew’ some of the participants already from Twitter, because I follow tweets with the hashtag ‘mfltwitterati’.
– In the same vein, it is useful if you need to find something or someone – you can issue a tweet asking for help and it usually gets retweeted until it reaches someone who can.
– The scary bit is when people start following you! I was happily following other people when I discovered that a few ‘big names’ in MFL had started following me, so now I feel I have to say something worthwhile – which is good for me, I suppose!
– You can dip in to it. It’s not like email, where you have to wade through them all to get to the important ones. Twitter is optional, so you can look at it when you have time, and pick out the interesting ones. And there is so much out there that you only need to put out one ‘quality’ tweet every now and again to keep your end up, as it were.
So I wouldn’t say that I’m a complete convert, but it does have its uses.
Alison has made some good points, and I definitely recommend checking out the #MFLTwitterati hashtag to keep abreast of what is happening in the MFL community!