Blog

Twitter in the classroom boosts student engagement

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: Lifelong Learning, Date: 19 Mar 2010

How does using Twitter with students boost their learning and engagement? Mashable explains how...

Web to Classroom Workshop

Helen Wheeler © Australian Museum

According to a recent blog post from Mashable educators are increasingly turning to Twitter to increase involvement of students through broadening participation and creating a community of learners.

As stated: "Classroom shyness is like a blackhole: Once silence takes over, it never lets go. In my own experience, in a class of hundreds, the fraction of students who speak up is small, and a still tinier fraction contribute regularly. That’s why, Dr. Monica Rankin of the University of Texas at Dallas was pleasantly surprised when her experiment with Twitter began pulling more students into discussion: It’s been really exciting because, in classes like this, you’ll have three people who talk about the discussion material, and so to actually have 30 or 40 people at the same time talking about it is really interesting".

When trying to establish a community of learners it can be difficult to continue intellectual discussion outside of the classroom. It was found that Twitter was the ideal tool to keep these conversations going. David Parry, Professor of Emerging Media at the University of Texas: "I found that Twitter chatter during class spilled over into the students’ free time. The first thing I noticed when the class started using Twitter was how conversations continued inside and outside of class. Once students started Twittering I think they developed a sense of each other as people beyond the classroom space, rather than just students they saw twice a week for an hour and a half. As a result, classroom conversation became more productive as people were more willing to talk, and [be] more respectful of others.”

Our web to classroom workshops held with primary and secondary teachers revealed that teachers are active and engaged users of social media tools with their students.

What are museums doing about this?