Case studies: Twitter for learning
Those of us who use Twitter as a Personal Learning Network tool (PLN) don’t need convincing that Twitter is useful for learning. There are innumerable resources discussing this, and even more describing and explaining how to use Twitter for personal learning and for social learning. Jane Hart covers the basics and more in her online handbook on How to use Twitter for Social Learning and Andy Ramsden has written a good introduction in Using micro-blogging (Twitter) in your teaching and learning: An introductory guide (PDF) (University of Bath).
In this post I’m concerned with Twitter used by an academic or teacher in a formal or semi-formal way with learners, and I’ve looked for case studies which specifically address the use of Twitter in this way. It’s by way of an introduction to ways you can use Twitter for learning. For those who use Twitter themselves and want to move on and try using it with learners, there are some inspiring uses of Twitter to draw on, here.
A couple of school level examples first:
- CSI Twitter CSI Twitter- Crime Scene Investigation
- The TwHistory project carries out historical reenactments online in Twitter
- And Tom Barratt’s collected Interesting Ways to use Twitter in the classroom (Google Doc)
Now for some formal HE case studies
- Whispers in the Classroom about a student “backchannel chatroom”, Georgia Institute of Technology. Yardi, Sarita. “Whispers in the Classroom.” Digital Youth, Innovation, and the Unexpected. Edited by Tara McPherson. The John
D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 143–164. doi: 10.1162/dmal.9780262633598.143
- Twitter in Academia: A Case Study from Saudi Arabia By Hend S. Al-Khalifa, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia from eLearn magazine
- Microblogging for Language Learning: Using Twitter to Train Communicative and Cultural Competence Borau et al. (PDF)
- Twittering the student experience by Alan Cann, Jo Badge, Stuart Johnson and Alex Moseley in the ALT Online Newsletter
Some blog posts and articles
- How we Twitter from Bruce Spear teaching an English class at the Berlin School of Economics and Law
- David Parry, on video, talks about using Twitter for his courses at the University of Texas at Dallas, and blogs on Twitter for academia (Some good examples of real-life application of Twitter in the classroom in the comments here, too)
- How Twitter in the Classroom is Boosting Student Engagement from Mashable.com
- 14 days of Twitter two interesting blog posts from Nicole Melander, School of Business American University Washington, D.C.
- Information from the Promoting Student Engagement with Twitter LearnHigher project from Kingston University
- Not all case studies are positive. The focus of Twitter Elearning Digital Cultures 10 is the trial use of Twitter on an undergraduate module on Shakespeare. It’s a study of the failure of a technology that many, especially in the blogosphere, have touted as offering great potential.
Now some presentations and papers
Tony McNeill on Twittering in Higher Education: a presentation discussing four case studies showing different uses of Twitter:
- broadcast medium
- conversational medium
- learning community
- data collection tool
Further links (blog posts)
Teaching with Twitter by Steve Wheeler
and Twitter tweets for Higher Education – the comments are almost the best thing about this post – lots of real-life experience reported.