Social learning is making its way into formal education, often on the heals of popular education technology apps.
In many cases, this can simply mean leveraging platforms that learners are already familiar with and applying them to course (classroom) learning points or objectives.
While there are many tools available today that are conducive to social learning, usually the first ones that come to people’s minds are Facebook and Twitter given their mainstream influence in social media.
But can Twitter really be used for social learning? It only allows for 140 characters… what kind of value can that offer?
There are a variety of ways that Twitter can be used in an educational setting. Probably the most logical (and easiest way to get started) is to create your own course hashtag and then encourage discussion by using it.
Simply have the students add the hashtag at the end of their contributions. As the instructor, you can use a free tool like TweetDeck to create custom searches that will always display the results for the hashtag.
You can reply to the tweets and even loop others into the conversation by tweeting at (@) them as well.
Not everything needs to be words though – Twitter also makes it easy to share images which is a perfect way to infuse edtech into a photography course.
Since all of these tweets are stored, you can use them to influence your current and future course content. If you field questions via Twitter, you can determine what subject areas may need more attention within the classroom.
While only a basic example of what can be done using Twitter as an edtech tool, it’s easy to see the potential it has to foster additional discussion around key topics in a lesson. It’s also a non-threatening way to begin dabbling with using technology to encourage better learning.