Communicating in 140-character segments may seem to contradict the goals of generally long-winded academia, but a new study has found that the two are less opposed than one might think. Students in the study who were asked to contribute to class discussions and complete assignments using Twitter increased their engagement over a semester more than twice as much as a control group.
The study used a 19-question survey based on the National Survey of Student Engagement to measure student engagement at the beginning and end of a seminar course for first year students in pre-health professional programs. Four sections (70 students) were given assignments and discussions that incorporated Twitter, such as tweeting about their experiences on a job shadow day or commenting on class readings. Three sections (55 students) did the same assignments and had access to the same information, but didn’t use Twitter.
In addition to showing more than twice the improvement in engagement than the control group, the students who used Twitter also achieved on average a .5 point increase in their overall GPA for the semester.
I have long considered incorporation Twitter into the classroom. I think it would be a fun way for students to pose questions, reply to comments of fellow students, and engage the class in topics that just don’t quite fit into the class discussion. A Twitter Board for a class could even work in law school.
Check out this video for details: