The article explains the ways of using Twitter, a microblogging site in learning and education.Microblogging is a Web 2.0 technology and a new form of blogging, that allow users to publish online brief text updates, usually less than 140-200 characters, sometimes images too.
The posts can be edited and accessed online, or sent as SMS, e-mail or via instant messaging clients. Usually, the microblogs authors embed their posts as a widget on blogs or sites. Microblogging enables a real-time interaction between users, using different devices, technologies and applications. The best known microblogging services are Twitter .
Advantages of Twitter
1. Twitter is easy to use. In registration, it will only take you less than a minute to join, and no confirmation e-mail needed.
2. You can create as many accounts as you want. Followers are considered friends. Once they follow you through your tweets, you can follow them back and immediately considered you as a friend.
3. Message boards or “tweets” itself can be viewable in public whether you’re friends or not, and you may include your URL as well which is clickable.
4. Twitter also has unique profile templates, which can be created through HTML mode or purchase it through legitimate dealers in different auction sites related to templates.
Ways of Using Twitter in Education
The following are some ways of using Twitter in education:
1. Twit Board: Notify students of changes to course content, schedules, venues or other important information.
2. Summing Up: Ask students to read an article or chapter and then post their brief summary or précis of the key point(s). A limit of 140 characters demands a lot of academic discipline.
3. Twit Links: Share a hyperlink – a directed task for students – each is required to regularly share one new hyperlink to a useful site they have found.
4. Twitter Stalking: Follow a famous person and document their progress. Better still if this can be linked to an event .
5. Time Tweet: Choose a famous person from the past and create a twitter account for them – choose an image which represents the historical figure and over a period of time write regular tweets in the role of that character, in a style and using the vocabulary you think they would have used (e.g. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar).
6. Micro Meet: Hold discussions involving all the subscribing students. As long as everyone is following the whole group, no-one should miss out on the Twitter stream. All students participate because a sequence of contributors is agreed beforehand.
7. Micro Write: Progressive collaborative writing on Twitter. Students agree to take it in turns to contribute to an account or ‘story’ over a period of time.
8. Lingua Tweeta: Good for modern language learning. Send tweets in foreign languages and ask students to respond in the same language or to translate the tweet into their native language.
9. Tweming: Start off a meme – agree on a common hash-tag so that all the created content is automatically captured by Twemes or another aggregator.
10. Twitter Pals: Encourage students to find a Twitter ‘penpal’ and regularly converse with them over a period of time to find out about their culture, hobbies, friends, family etc. Ideal for learning about people from other cultures.