Using Microblogging Platforms for Educational Purposes
Microblogging has become a part of the lives of Internet savvy individuals. What is the reason for the trend? In this fast-paced world, a quick announcement of what you are doing, within a word span of 140 words has enthused everyone to Microblogging. Considering their popularity, making productive use of Microblogging platforms will help in various activities that businesses, education, and organizations engage in.
Education is a comprehensive term used to describe the learning activities that involve individuals of all age groups from children to older students to teachers. The changing Microblogging arena provides a multitude of opportunities to make the learning process an interesting activity to everyone involved in the process. It aids collaboration and collective learning for effective understanding. All the stakeholders who contribute to education meet up at one point, online, for the betterment of education.
Twitter, Yammer, Friendfeed, present.ly, edmodo, Cirip.eu, identi.ca, and PLURK are Microblogging platforms that are instrumental in effective learning that bridges the gap between the teachers and students.
Effective Ways of using Microblogging platforms
The boundaries of classrooms have moved from chalk and board classrooms to the online arena, with virtual setups being successful. Techniques like cognitive learning and collaborative learning through Microblogging platforms are tools that come in handy for an educator.
Creating Communities in Classrooms
The mode of education can be brick and mortar classrooms or even online classrooms. Microblogging allows for creating specific communities for a particular class. For instance, create a special community for your history class and exchange information on historical figures or get clarifications from the moderator. Publishing information on historical characters in 140 words will be quite a challenge. It improves the memorization of facts. Communities will act as the fountain of learning.
Teachers should include a hashtag in Twitter on their class discussion and students can join in the discussion by adding in facts and comments. Twiducate has a special provision for churning discussions by allowing people direct comments to a person. Students can initiate a story line and continue to build it. This enhances creativity and presence of mind. You get to appreciate the story that has been built without errors in spelling and grammar.
Managing your projects
All Microblogging platforms have inbuilt project management features. You can create a workflow by documenting the different stages involved in your assignment in the form of tweets. Problems will arise when confronting certain subject areas and there will be questions as well. These can be documented as tweets. At the end of the project, students should observe their thinking process and analyze the workflow. This aids better output the next time around.
Polls and Opinions
Polls are a great way to understand what students think and feel. When a teacher wants to find out the opinion of students, he or she can set a survey for arriving at a conclusion. Students can set polls for initiating debates and discussions on varied subjects.
‘Following’ popular personalities will help understanding their opinions and views on daily happenings. When students keep a tab on what is ‘trending,’ they get a clear picture of the world around. Websites like Historicaltweets.com and Twitterfall.com help you learn loads of information based on keywords or personalities. For instance, when you type in the word ‘impeachment’, in Twitterfall.com, it would list the tweets on the subject and the students can grasp its essence. After this, the students can tweet their understanding in a single ‘140 words-tweet’.
Microblogging helps students overcome their shyness. In a classroom situation, students will hesitate to volunteer answers, but many will come up with their answers on Twitter or Cirip.eu. They will easily volunteer answers and this encourages participative learning.
Most Microblogging platforms have ‘wordle’ features for creating frameworks around words. Related words like the antonyms and synonyms of the words are connected to form word clouds. In the Microblogging site Cirip.eu, building mind maps and diagrams help in enhancing the basic understanding of the individual.
Motivation is the objective behind learning, using Microblogging. When students are aware that their work reaches a global audience focusing on close-knit networks, they are empowered and motivated to learn better. Thus, communication in education has moved away from closed student-teacher relationships towards open collaborative learning.