“Finding a Place for Twitter in Higher Education” eLearn Magazine

I received the email newsletter from eLearn Magazine earlier this week and was interested in the lead article: “Finding a Place for Twitter in Higher Education“.

The article makes some interesting points so please read the original on the link above, but I want to comment on just a couple of them;

“Twitter has various educational uses in both developing countries and more developed ones. But the real tipping point for Twitter in education will only come if teachers can manage to add Twitter to their arsenal of teaching tools. The question is can they do it?”

I would say “why would they do it” rather than “can they do it”. Surely it’s more about a considered and appropriate use of technology in the classroom rather than using it because we can?

“Despite these potential uses of Twitter in education, there are situations in which Twitter, as a medium falls short. The restricted number of characters used in a message, or tweet, limits users from explaining complex concepts or writing equations.”

Of course it falls short if you use Twitter and only Twitter; 140 characters is not designed to enable you to write a thesis or even short paragraph. I see many people (students and teachers) using Twitter as the feed in to their blog, or research profile, or Flickr account, or something similar. Indeed, you may be reading this because I tweeted from my blog when I publish(ed) this post.

“However, if you are a passionate teacher who wants to utilize new technologies in the classroom, Twitter can be an amazing, asynchronous communication medium — if and only if you have a strong network to follow.”

I don’t think Twitter warrants the label of “you must have a large network to follow and who follows you”. I think it is more appropriate that your network is appropriate to you and your subject or area of expertise.

If you have any comment on the above please let me know and let’s start the debate.