ECMP 455

Twitter – A tool for teaching and learning

Truly speaking, my twitter journey started with the beginning of Winter 2017 semester at U of R, when I started to take Ecmp classes. I had only heard about Twitter as one of the social media platforms and that was it. I have always been reluctant to go on Facebook or any other online social website, I always thought it is not meant for me. I used to get upset when people around me were on Facebook or Instagram and posting and chatting with people they even did not know. I used to, and still, have debates with my husband for the purpose of being online on Facebook and he could never convince me to create an account there.

Then Katia and Alec came into the picture and I had to go out of my comfort zone to be a part of this online world. It has just been over two months since I created my Twitter account and profile. Though I have some ‘followers’ but I would say I am still at a beginner level in using Twitter. I still have to make efforts to go online and tweet but it will take some time for me to be a social media activist.

 

I am hoping to be an active social media user by the time I will start my first classroom. This is because I see myself using twitter in my future classrooms. Whatever I have learned about twitter so far, and the exposure I have been given to it is just amazing. I participated in #ecmpchat and #saskedchat in the past couple of days and I found it a great learning experience.  It was an overwhelming experience for me at first and I literally felt that I am in an exam room, trying to catch up with everything. It was as hard as if you were running out of time in the exam but there were still lots of questions to respond. Tweets were popping up crazy, the screen was flashing, tweets were getting buried under new ones and I was stunned, blushed and just staring at the screen. Then I sat back and said to myself – “one thing at a time, don’t try to catch everything, focus on few things at first and then expand on others as you get comfortable”. The second day on #saskedchat was way better than the first one and now I see myself learning and using this tool as a resource for on-going professional development.

On Twitter, the interaction with a number of people and educators with diverse backgrounds, the knowledge, the resources, and the support is enough to justify the use of this platform. Since I am still relatively a new user of Twitter, I have to dig into the internet to see what people think and talk about its usage in the classrooms. Why people use it or why people don’t use it? In light of my Twitter learning so far and the research I did online, following is the conclusion that I draw.

Any school or classroom can begin using Twitter as an important part of the learning process. People have developed a list of educational hashtags that can be used by teachers and students who are looking to connect beyond the classroom and they really help out a beginner like me.

As Tonya Ward Singer describes pros and cons of Twitter for professional learning in her blog Corwinconnect, some of many benefits of twitter are the endless flow of Ideas, inspiration, curiosity, courage, and connections. And some of the shortfalls are sustained focus, depth, cognitive dissonance, application and impact on student learning.

I really like The Journal of Social Media in Society which talks about Twitter as a Classroom Tool: Exploring the Use, Benefits, and Downfalls from the  Perspectives of Instructors and Students. Following is a screenshot of the comparison which was made between perspectives of student and instructor in the article, I think it is great.

In general, students are more connected than previous generations and they expect to remain this way in all facets of their lives (Pensky, 2005). Therefore, it makes sense that the use of social media would extend to the classroom context. However, this extension should be carefully built into the curriculum in a way that minimizes the downfalls and maximizes the benefits of using Twitter in the classroom.

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