It’s official! Research now shows that when people use Twitter during classes, they are more engaged and learn more.
We can now stop debating the issue. And all the naysayers who find Twitter use during an education session distracting can stop their diatribes against Twitter. The proof is in the Twitteracy (Twitter-literacy).
Twitteracy: Tweeting Improves Learning And Engagement
Education Professor Christine Greenhow, Michigan State University, conducted a study on Twitter as a new form of literacy. Her results showed that adults who tweet during a class and as part of the instruction:
- are more engaged with the course content
- are more engaged with the instructor
- are more egaged with other students
- and have higher grades than the other students.
“Tweeting can be thought of as a new form of literacy,” Greenhow said. “The students get more engaged because they feel it is connected to something real, that it’s not just learning for the sake of learning. It feels authentic to them.”
Greenhow goes on to say that Twitter is a new form of literacy as defined by scholars in The Handbook Of Research Of New Literacies. She advocates that Twitter is a new form of communication that has created new social acts that were not possible in the past.
Tweeting For Formal And Informal Learning
These young adults used Twitter in a variety of formats for both formal and informal learning. Their use of Twitter supported a number of positive educational outcomes including:
- increased engagement
- active learning
- improved relationships between students and instructors
- higher grades
Greenhow’s research and research by
Junico Junco, Heiberger and Loken 2011 and Kuh 2009 found that these young adult’s use of Twitter fostered rich discussion of the content. These students directly addressed other students Twitter discussions, engaged in peer questioning via tweets and had deeper reflections of the content and its application to the real world. Students that tweeted had higher levels of connections with other students with shared interests.
A second study by
Junico Junco, Elavsky and Heiberger found that the use of Twitter in courses led to increased engagement and higher grades. When students were encouraged to use Twitter following specific learning principles, their retention and learning increased.
Greenhow’s research also identifies more than 50 other studies that show the benefits of Twitter use during education sessions. The evidence is clear that using Twitter during a class has tremendous benefits for the user often resulting in more retention, deeper learning and higher grades.
Greenhow also noted that Twitter use among U.S. teens has doubled in less than two years. There are now more than 200 million active users … posting more than 175 million tweets a day.
How can conference organizers encourage the use of Twitter during education sessions? What holds some people back from using Twitter during a conference session?