If I had to summarize the aspects that I consider most defining of twitter, these are inmediacy and feedback. In consequennce, I also think these would be the traits that can be more unique at the time of aplying microblogging in education.
Even there are many articles suggesting ideas about how to use twitter in class, I prefer to skip the array of beneffits numerous professionals mention and concentrate in the few ideas and doubts I have about the use of microblogging for educational purposes. (Anyway, a good article where to find some interesting ideas could be in the Steve Wheeler’s post in his blog).
Briefly, my doubts about this tool deal about the specific contributions of twitter, among many others, to education.
Personally, the argument that something is exciting and motivating isn’t enough for me to decide use it at the class. To use someone’s else words, I quote the following extract from Tom Barrett’s blog
In my classroom and with the children I teach it has been an exciting tool to utilise and support learning. However it is one of many tools that we have at our disposal. I do not see it replacing any of the others we use nor do I see the positive impact upon learning being exclusive to Twitter.
So it’s possible to achieve same goals by other means, what’s exactly exclusive of twitter, or any other microblogging similar tool, that would justify the use of it? Shall teachers use new technologic tools in education just because they are motivating?
It has also been pointed out the possibilities of using twitter in order to get support at answering questions that may arise during the class time.
Peer support and exchange: during the lesson
While perusing the Tweets of other educators, I came across the idea of using Twitter as a back channel and realised this would be perfect for students like the one who wanted to ask a question without calling attention to herself. I also thought that the keeners would enjoy using this as a means of sharing or displaying their knowledge or moving ahead of the lesson with links and insights they might want to share with others.
Even it can be a good idea to use twitter to put questions, it can be trickier to use it at the same time the teacher is interacting with students. Are students and teachers prepared enough to face the multitasking skills that this kind of practices imply?