Tag Archives: Autonomous learning

An investigation into the use of Twitter in teaching.

David Strafford
@davidstrafford

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.8


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Short Abstract
This presentation will review an exploratory study examining the opportunities and challenges of using Twitter as an integral part of the teaching on two Events Management modules. Particularly, it explores whether students would actively engage with course content on Twitter to enhance their learning experience and underpin the teaching from the classroom.

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Detailed Outline
The modern student has access to knowledge and information at their fingertips like never before. Ownership of smartphones, tablets and laptops is prevalent amongst the modern day digital learner, with information, knowledge and feedback being demanded faster and faster. Interaction on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest is growing as a result of increased demand for social connectivity. The modern day tutor needs to reflect on this, as to whether these platforms can be tools for teaching.

If students actively and voluntarily spend their time interacting on social media with peers, then it is natural for tutors to ask whether they can engage their students with learning on these same platforms. Therefore as part of the delivery of two Events Management modules, Twitter was used to underpin the learning from the more traditional classroom based teaching. The vehicle was a weekly ‘tweetchat’ hour where tutors and students could come together on Twitter to discuss course related topics. These tweetchats were not compulsory or assessed, they merely supported course material and provided wider background reading through interesting links, articles and videos.

The tweetchat topics loosely followed a particular module’s lecture topics: in Semester One, the Level 4 Events Foundation was chosen and in Semester Two, the Level 5 Charity Events and Fundraising module was utilised. A bespoke Twitter handle was created (@SHUeventschat) and the hashtag #SHUeventschat was used in all tweets during the tweetchats. Storify was used to summarise the tweetchat conversations each week. At the end of each module a quantitative research survey was conducted to establish students’ views on Twitter being used as part of their teaching, with some further qualitative interviews also conducted to delve deeper with particularly engaged students. The results of that research are presented here, couple with recommendations for future use.