Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Twitter in the Classroom

Created by: Ryan McCarty Graduate Associate and Molly Cahoy, Tech Fellow at The Center For Teaching and Learning

Twitter has rapidly emerged as one of the most popular forms of social media available today. From following your favorite celebrities to updating your friends about your day, Twitter has a wide variety of social functions. Twitter also has many different capabilities that can be employed in a business or in a classroom setting. One of the most valuable but underutilized set of features available on Twitter, is its benefit in the classroom. This post will highlight some of the most common applications of Twitter in a university setting and some unique ways to engage your students with Twitter.

Social Media and more specifically Twitter, has begun to play an important role in the education system. “Nearly 80 percent of faculty members are using social media in some way, according to a recent survey of nearly 2,000 college faculty” (Lytle, 2011). compiled a list of 50 ways to use Twitter in the classroom. Here are a few from the list that could be immediately utilized by faculty here at the University of South Dakota. First, is tweeting about upcoming assignments and due dates. “One of the simplest ways that teachers can use Twitter in the classroom involves setting up a feed dedicated exclusively to due dates, tests or quizzes” (Miller, 2005). The reality is that most students understand and frequently use social media, so it won’t be much of an adjustment for them to use social media for academic purposes. Twitter can also serve as a more reliable and permanent way to inform students about changes to syllabus and other relevant pieces of course news.

Similar to updating different elements of the course, encouraging students to use Twitter to coordinate assignments is another useful tool. “Rather than keeping up with an e-mail train, students can use Twitter to collaborate on different projects and keep a quick reference on any changes” (Miller, 2005). Twitter can provide students a way to instantly communicate and update their group members on a user-friendly interface.

Finally, Twitter provides a resource for students to immerse themselves in their area of study. Depending on a student’s major or area of interest, they can follow relevant news outlets and journalists, they can keep up to date on corporations and the stock market and they can remain knowledgeable on the current national and international political climate. Students can even begin to use Twitter as a way to share their knowledge, experiences and opinions as they progress as scholars, by tweeting their ideas, re-tweeting posts they find interesting and tweeting at people they wish to converse with.

Overall the uses and benefits for Twitter in the classroom are nearly endless. Although it may seem ominous, making the leap to incorporating social media in your classroom has the potential to not only enhance your students learning experience, but your teaching efficiency as well.

If you have any other questions regarding Twitter, please refer to our Tutorial about Twitter o
r our former blog posting on Twitter. Thanks!


Miller, Samantha. "50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom." Teach 10 Oct. 2005. Web.

Llorenz, Jason. "Ten Steps to Using Twitter in the College Classroom." Huffington Post. 25 Aug. 2014. Web.

Lytle, Ryan. "5 Unique Uses of Twitter in the Classroom." U.S News and World Report. 24 May 2011. Web.

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