Teachers often accuse social networks of distracting their young students. Contrary to popular belief, in Higher Education, Twitter turns out to be an effective tool to increase the interests of students in their courses. This was the thematic of a study leads by the University of Michigan, which shows that people who use the most this social network get better grades than others.
Students are more interested in topics when they hear about on Twitter, because they feel that it is connected to something real. They no longer feel like learning for the sole purpose of having a good rating.
To obtain such results, students are encouraged to follow the Twitter accounts of their teachers. The latter can use Twitter to answer questions related to courses, do brainstorming with students, identify or develop debates, help students gather information and build a huge dynamic community.
Some teachers such as at the University of North Texas also use Twitter to engage their students.
Students tend to share more in using this social network than they would in the traditional classroom. Perhaps because they are afraid of making mistake, or maybe are they too shy? Who knows…?
But I think that teachers must not require this social network, but introduce it such as an optional resource of courses. Because when things turn out to be a kind of obligation for students, they don’t necessary follow correctly the rules. Remember that Gen Y really does not like that people can push them to do something with no reasons – or just because this are the school law. It is important to give them a minimum of freedom to let them go on Twitter by their own. Most of them are curious, they will follow you, I promise!
Nowadays this kind of social learning is much more used in the U.S. than the other countries. However 98% of teachers over the world know Twitter but most of them just don’t get the aim of using it for their courses. Such as Facebook, they put it in the private area, and are not able to understand that there is more than this. But with the generation of young teachers, it would be possible that this trend change in a few years.
What about your school? And if you are a teacher, do you use one of the social networks as a learning tool?
* Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter😉