Twitter

Twitter Logo

Twitter is a social networking tool that allows users to connect with people and explore topics of interest (#hashtags). There are more than 310 million active users on Twitter (source). Twitter users can read and write short messages (up to 140 characters) that are organized by hashtags (e.g., #education). While you might think that Twitter is just for celebrities and people who want to share photos of their lunch, it is actually one of the most popular professional learning tools for K-12 teachers. If you are struggling to get students to engage in conversations or to get full class participation, you might consider giving Twitter a try. It is a great tool for backchanneling, synchronous or asynchronous communication, and even conducting research.

Price Free
Type of learning Social constructivism; Connectivism
Ease of Use ★★ ★✩✩
Privacy ★✩✩✩✩
Accessibility ★★★✩✩
Class Size Unlimited
ISTE Standards for Students Knowledge Constructor, Creative Communicator, Global Collaborator

Evaluation Criteria

Impact On Student Learning. Picture of mountains with text: impact on student learningTwitter functions characteristically as a social network linking effective tools including learner-based, assessment-centered as well as knowledge-based online tools for instructors and students without constraint of time and space. This is a great community-based tool to promote students’ learning, and thus improve their academic competency multiculturally, multilingually, entertainingly, educationally, effectively, and efficiently.

Cost. Free of charge for users, but advertisement needs payment. Twitter Ads pricing

Designer: CEO: #Jack Dorsey (see Twitter leadership team)

Picture of an eye and a magnifying glassPrivacy. What data is collected? Twitter Privacy Policy. “What you share on Twitter may be viewed all around the world instantly. You are what you Tweet!”

“Our Services instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most meaningful to them. For example, any  registered user of Twitter can send a Tweet, which is public by default, and can include a message of 140 characters or less and content like photos, videos, and links to other websites.”

Meanwhile, Twitter requires age screening for preventing kids from inappropriate exposure within advertisement. Age screening on Twitter

How is data used? “We collect and use your information below to provide, understand, and improve our Services.” https://twitter.com/privacy?lang=en

What do the terms of service/ privacy policy say? Twitter Terms of Service

Power and Bias. How’s the tool biased? Twitter connects everyone across the countries anytime, but a small amount of users’ posting comments, information, video and photos are frequently found inappropriate in terms of violation of the twitter rules. Users can report inappropriate behavior on Twitter, see  How to report violations.

“My children, again, discipline me not to go on Twitter because apparently people say bad things about me on Twitter. But things like Twitter offer us the opportunity only to encounter views consistent with our own, 24 hours a day,” Comey explained at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event Wednesday.” FBI’s Comey: Twitter fuels ‘monster of a bias’

What type of power structure does the tool encourage? The Twitter Rules: “We believe that everyone should have the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. In order to protect the experience and safety of people who use Twitter, there are some limitations on the type of content and behavior that we allow. All users must adhere to the policies set forth in the Twitter Rules. Failure to do so may result in the temporary locking and/or permanent suspension of account(s).”

How’s diversity portrayed? Deemed as a community-based tool, Twitter incorporates diversity of globalized users.

“Twitter is a global social broadcast network that enables people and organizations to publicly share brief messages instantly around the world. The service can be accessed on the web at twitter.com, on a wide variety of mobile devices and via text messaging. Available in more than 35 languages, Twitter has hundreds of millions of active users.” Encourage Twitter literacy

What type of language is used? Twitter allows users to change language settings. Twitter is available in more than 35 languages.

Ease of Use. Twitter is a community-based tool for social networking like Facebook, it takes time  for users to learn how to navigate Twitter and become experts in Tweeting, Retweeting, using hashtags, and following people or information. Tweeting The Twitter glossary

Picture of computer icons and mobile devicesAccess. Twitter can be access on iOS and Android devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and desktop computers.

Picture of a lock with text: accessibilityAccessibility. Twitter provides users with less information about accessibility, especially for individuals who are physically disadvantaged. However, Twitter has been aware of the issue of accessibility since 2013, and Twitter blog mentioned some thoughts about improving accessibility of twitter.

Picture of a paper airplane and a party hatWorkflow. Twitter allows users to download their archive.

Twitter & the SAMR Model

Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model offers a lens for examining how technology is adopted in a classroom. As you strive to incorporate online tools into your classroom, we encourage you to use this model as an analytic tool.

  • Substitution: Students use a Twitter hashtag to engage in a discussion (instead of engaging in a face-to-face discussion).
  • Augmentation: All students engage in the discussion over an extended period (e.g., 1-2 weeks).
  • Modification: Students critically analyze the archive of the discussion.
  • Redefinition: Subject matter experts are invited to join the discussion and share their expertise.

Learning Activities

Math: Students learn about improper fractions as mixed numbers and use Twitter hashtags (e.g.,#6thgrademath, #improperfractions, #mixednumbers) to connect with subject matter experts and host a public twitter chat about the topic.

Science: Science instructor conducts group discussion regarding climate change in the 5th grade classroom using hashtag #greenhouseeffect,#extremeweather, #mothernature, #PlanetCrisis, #ClimateAction and #endangeredspecies on Twitter chat before group discussion. Students can learn from science experts on Twitter regarding focused topic by means of shared comments and feedback, and bring information engaging in group discussion afterward.   

English/Language Arts: Teachers guide students to create picture books from Storybird, and then share their products on Twitter, using hashtags #storybird, #picturebooks, #Englishreading, #Englishwriting, and #comments4kids, inviting the public to give comments and offer their thoughts. Students revise their picture books based on the feedback they receive.

Astronomy: Instructor conducts astronomy class for students exploring Mars using Twitter hashtags. For example, students type #MARS, #Marslanding, #NASA, #Curiosityrover and #Astronomy for Twitter chat.

Sports: PE teacher provides students with information about baseball, basketball, and history of NBA, as well as MLB, before peer discussion. Students examine relevant Twitter hashtags, including #MLB, #NBA, #mlbhalloffame, #nbahalloffame, #chicagocubs, #nbabraves, #nbaplayoff, and #mlbstars, to expand their knowledge of these topics . They learn how become a baseball or basketball expert by giving and receiving comments through Twitter chat. Students use collected information to engage in peer discussion about why baseball and basketball bring joyfulness to American life.

Resources

Step one picture: log on to twitterHow to Use Twitter

  1. Go to www.twitter.com
  2.     Click “Sign Up” and register for an account
  3.     Return to Twitter and login
  4.     Setup your profile page
  5.     Click on the egg icon in the top right corner (next to the “Tweet” button)
  6.     Click on “Edit profile”
  7.     Add a photo and/or short bio
  8.     Research hashtags (#) to find people to follow
  9.     Use an Internet Search Engine to identify hashtags (e.g., “Top 3 hashtags for science education”)
  10.     Return to Twitter and type one of the hashtags into the search engine
  11.      Browse tweets
  12.     Follow 3-4 individuals who you find fascinating
  13.     Write a tweet
  14.     Click the “Tweet” button in the top right corner
  15.     Add text (less than 140 characters)
  16.   Include a hashtag related to your tweet to reach a broader audience

Research     

Barone, D. M., & Mallette, M. H. (2013). On Using Twitter. Reading Teacher, 66(5), 377-379.   

Benko, S. L., Guise, M., Earl, C. E., & Gill, W. (2016). More than Social Media: Using Twitter with Preservice Teachers as a Means of Reflection and Engagement in Communities of Practice. Contemporary Issues In Technology And Teacher Education (CITE Journal), 16(1), 1-21.  

Caliendo, S. M., Chod, S., & Muck, W. (2016). Using Twitter to Increase Political Interest in Undergraduate Students. Journal Of Political Science Education, 12(3), 282-301.

Evans, C. (2014). Twitter for Teaching: Can Social Media Be Used to Enhance the Process of Learning?. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 45(5), 902-915.

Gleason, B. (2016). New Literacies Practices of Teenage “Twitter” Users. Learning, Media And Technology, 41(1), 31-54.

Gooding, L. F., Yinger, O. S., & Gregory, D. (2016). #Music Students: College Music Students’ Twitter Use and Perceptions. Update: Applications Of Research In Music Education, 34(2), 45-53.

Jones, J. (2015). Covering #SAE: A Mobile Reporting Class’s Changing Patterns of Interaction on Twitter over Time. Journalism And Mass Communication Educator, 70(3), 264-275.

Halpin, P. A. (2016). Research and Teaching: Using Twitter in a Nonscience Major Science Class Increases Journal of College Science Teaching. Journal Of College Science Teaching, 45(6).

Kimmons, R., & Veletsianos, G. (2016). Education Scholars’ Evolving Uses of Twitter as a Conference Backchannel and Social Commentary Platform. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 47(3), 445-464.

Knight, C. G., & Kaye, L. K. (2016). “To Tweet or Not to Tweet?” A Comparison of Academics’ and Students’ Usage of Twitter in Academic Contexts. Innovations In Education And Teaching International, 53(2), 145-155.

Knowlton, D. S., & Nygard, S. (2016). Twitter in the Higher Education Classroom: Known Fragmentations and Needed Frameworks. Journal On Excellence In College Teaching, 27(1), 117-151.

Krutka, D. G., & Carpenter, J. P. (2016). Participatory Learning through Social Media: How and Why Social Studies Educators Use Twitter. Contemporary Issues In Technology And Teacher Education (CITE Journal), 16(1), 38-59.

Lin, M. G., Hoffman, E. S., & Borengasser, C. (2013). Is Social Media Too Social for Class? A Case Study of Twitter Use. Techtrends: Linking Research And Practice To Improve Learning, 57(2), 39-45.

Miller, S. M. (2010). Enhance Your Twitter Experience. Learning & Leading With Technology, 37(8), 14-17.

Munoz, L. R., Pellegrini-Lafont, C., & Cramer, E. (2014). Using Social Media in Teacher Preparation Programs: Twitter as a Means to Create Social Presence. Penn GSE Perspectives On Urban Education, 11(2), 57-69.

Mompean, J. A., & Fouz-González, J. (2016). Twitter-Based EFL Pronunciation Instruction. Language Learning & Technology, 20(1), 166-190.

Nicholson, J., & Galguera, T. (2013). Integrating New Literacies in Higher Education: A Self-Study of the Use of Twitter in an Education Course. Teacher Education Quarterly, 40(3), 7-26.

O’Neill, B. (2014). Evaluating the Impact of Cooperative Extension Outreach via Twitter. Journal Of Extension, 52(5).

Palmer, S. (2014). Characterizing Twitter Communication–A Case Study of International Engineering Academic Units. Journal Of Marketing For Higher Education, 24(2), 257-273.

Pieterse, E., & Peled, Y. (2014). A Chaperone: Using Twitter for Professional Guidance, Social Support and Personal Empowerment of Novice Teachers in Online Workshops. Interdisciplinary Journal Of E-Learning And Learning Objects, 10177-194.

Prestridge, S. (2014). A Focus on Students’ Use of Twitter–Their Interactions with Each Other, Content and Interface. Active Learning In Higher Education, 15(2), 101-115.

Ross, C. R., Maninger, R. M., LaPrairie, K. N., & Sullivan, S. (2015). The Use of Twitter in the Creation of Educational Professional Learning Opportunities. Administrative Issues Journal: Education, Practice, And Research, 5(1), 55-76.

Ross H, Banow R, Yu S. The Use of Twitter in Large Lecture Courses: Do the Students See a Benefit?. Contemporary Educational Technology [serial online]. January 1, 2015;6(2):126-139. Available from: ERIC, Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 22, 2016.

Ricoy, M., & Feliz, T. (2016). Twitter as a Learning Community in Higher Education. Educational Technology & Society, 19(1), 237-248.

Tyma, A. W., & Pickering, B. A. (2015). Digital Democratic Voices: Intersecting Student Research, Twitter, and Presidential Debates. Communication Teacher, 29(1), 63-70.

Virtanen, P., Myllarniemi, J., & Wallander, H. (2013). Diversifying Higher Education: Facilitating Different Ways of Learning. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 30(3), 201-211.

Wagner, R. (2011). Social Media Tools for Teaching and Learning. Athletic Training Education Journal, 6(1), 51-52.

West, B., Moore, H., & Barry, B. (2015). Beyond the Tweet: Using Twitter to Enhance Engagement, Learning, and Success among First-Year Students. Journal Of Marketing Education, 37(3), 160-170.