Researchers Bettina West, Hélène Moore and Ben Barry review the use and effectiveness of the social media micro blogging platform; twitter in the education sector.
Their article “Beyond the Tweet: Using Twitter to Enhance Engagement, Learning, and Success Among First-Year Students” published by the Journal of Education, explores how Twitter can be used to enhance learning, engagement and success among university students in Canada.
The results of the research present perceived and new information regarding social media usage.
For instance, initially, “males reported feeling less skilled using Twitter than their female counterparts.”
This agrees with the data collected by (Vermeren, 2015) which shows that “22% of women are active on Twitter, compared with just 15% of men, and the fact that women are more active on social media than men has held true for at least the past five years.” Though during the study, less proficient students caught up and could participate.
Data analysis further revealed using Twitter created a greater sense of connection between students; the professor and the learning environment, as well as developing a sense of belonging between the students via internal and external interaction.
With regards to impact on learning, it was discovered that “students felt Twitter was not a learning distraction or a waste of time”, but rather it aided understanding by providing an avenue to link theory with practice.
In terms of engagement and learning outcomes, Twitter also served as a communication tool that reduces classroom boredom and alienation, by allowing students to learn and engage privately while in a public place.
Since we currently live in a user generated world where things can be customised, anything is possible.
I mean, Kleenex lets you design your own tissue boxes, social media sites let you create your own home page, and Nike allows customers to customise sneakers from laces to colour and soles.
Perhaps academics will also take a more student centered approach, where students are included in course deign, teaching methods and the learning experience?
If anything, it will facilitate taking ownership, engagement and achievement of learning outcomes.
Their empirical study introduces us to the future of education.