About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5784-5789
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain

MUCH ADO ABOUT TWITTER: USING TWITTER FOR A FINAL-YEAR SHAKESPEARE COURSE

A. McNeill

Kingston University (UNITED KINGDOM)
A few academics have begun to consider Twitter’s uses in HE and the blogosphere is full of posts talking up its potential (Ahrenfelt 2009; Carbone 2009; Gordon 2009; Hart 2009b; Wheeler 2009). To date, however, there has been little real implementation in higher education for the purposes of learning, teaching and assessment and even less formal evaluation of its impact.

A recent survey in the USA conducted by Faculty Focus (2009) revealed that more than half of nearly 2,000 respondents (56.4%) had never used Twitter. Of the 30.7% who claimed to be current users of the service, less than half used it as a classroom learning tool, with slightly more than half having used it to communicate with students (Faculty Focus 2009: 9). On the basis of current research, it would appear that Twitter remains relatively underused in higher education with negative perceptions of the tool inhibiting many from exploring its potential in the near future.

This paper considers a case study of the use of Twitter to support learning, and the development of a learning community, on a final-year module on Shakespeare and Popular Culture at Kingston University (UK). Its focus in on Twitter not simply as a one-to-many or broadcast technology, but, rather, as a many-to-many or participatory technology that supports the creation and development of personal learning networks and a range of dialogic interactions. To this end, the module leader created a series of Twitter-based activities and “twittorials” encouraging students to share problems, resources, questions and comments.

Key research questions the evaluation of this Twitter initiative address are i) the extent to which Twitter is embedded in the vernacular technology practices ofthe 18-24 age group that remain the dominant category of students in higher education; ii) students’ preferences – or not – for the use of new and emerging technologies ('cool tools') like Twitter over institutionally supported technologies ('school tools') like the VLE and iii) the degree to which, if at all, lightweight social networking tools like Twitter enable the co-construction of academic knowledge more effectively than more established tools like VLE-based discussion boards?

References:
Ahrenfelt, J. (2009). Effective use of Social Media Part 1: Twitter in the classroom. Ideas
about learning, ICT and pedagogy. http://www.johannesahrenfelt.com/2009/07/15/effective-use-of-social-media-part-1-twitterin-
the-classroom/
Carbone, M. (2009). Twitter in education. Mark’s musings. http://markcarbone.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/twitter-in-education/
Faculty Focus (2009). Twitter in Higher Education: Usage Habits and Trends of Today’s
College Faculty. http://www.facultyfocus.com/freereport/twitter-in-higher-education-usage-habits-and-trends-of-todays-college-faculty/
Gordon, J. (2009). 100 Twitter tips for serious academics. Best Colleges Online blog. http://www.bestcollegesonline.com/blog/200/07/21/100-serious-twitter-tips-for-academics/
Hart, J. (2009b). Twitter in the classroom: 10 useful resources. Social Media in Learning. http://janeknight.typepad.com/socialmedia/2009/08/twitter-in-the-classroom-10-usefulresources.
html
Wheeler, S. (2009). Teaching with Twitter. Learning with ‘e’s. http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com/2009/01/teaching-with-twitter.html
@InProceedings{MCNEILL2010MUC,
author = {McNeill, A.},
title = {MUCH ADO ABOUT TWITTER: USING TWITTER FOR A FINAL-YEAR SHAKESPEARE COURSE},
series = {4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-5538-9},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {8-10 March, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5784-5789}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. McNeill
TI - MUCH ADO ABOUT TWITTER: USING TWITTER FOR A FINAL-YEAR SHAKESPEARE COURSE
SN - 978-84-613-5538-9/2340-1079
PY - 2010
Y1 - 8-10 March, 2010
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2010 Proceedings
SP - 5784
EP - 5789
ER -
A. McNeill (2010) MUCH ADO ABOUT TWITTER: USING TWITTER FOR A FINAL-YEAR SHAKESPEARE COURSE, INTED2010 Proceedings, pp. 5784-5789.
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