Use Twitter in the courses you teach?

It might be a good way to promote active and informal learning and to help learners make connections between academic work and the sector they wish to work in after graduating.

Active learning involves employing a range of teaching practices such as debates and discussion amongst students, team work and reflecting on what and how we learn. Informal learning is activity outside the classroom focused on self-directed and independent learning, including networking and peer-to-peer interactions. Using Twitter is a way of bringing together what happens in the classroom or lecture hall and what is happening in the ‘real’ world outside.

Encouraging students to read tweets (the short posts made on Twitter) by others and to make their own course-related tweets on a regular basis can help combined knowledge creation of a group and can have positive impacts on learning and the student experience. It exposes students to new and existing debates in the subject area and helps them get to know the kind of people and institutions they will encounter in the workplace.

Students can share ideas and resources quickly and easily with their peers and tutors, providing an opportunity for discussion, collaboration and sharing via a platform that is free and readily available on any Internet enabled device. By including a pre-agreed hashtag (a keyword preceded by the ‘#’ symbol) in each tweet they make, learners can easily keep track of all course related tweets.

A number of studies have shown the potential benefits of using Twitter in education and there are dozens of blog posts on the subject. Two recent studies are linked below plus a Slideshare presentation by the author of one of the papers.