USING TWITTER IN UNIVERSITY TEACHING: BENEFITS PERCEIVED BY STUDENTS
This study investigates the benefits perceived by students using Twitter as part of the practices of a subject. It also examines whether the technological level of the students, the previous use of the social network and the type of device used to make comments influence, the perception of these benefits.
To carry out the study, the students had to use Twitter after each class. Each student had to write two comments per week: a comment about a concept learned in class and another comment including a story where the implementation of the contents taught in class were observed. A hashtag was used in all comments to facilitate dialogue and discussion among students.
Upon completion of the course a questionnaire to all participants was provided. The questionnaire asked about the experience of using Twitter to make the practices of a subject. The main benefits perceived by students were:
(i) Twitter is a tool that encourages group discussion;
(ii) Twitter is an important source of examples to help learning;
(iii) Twitter promotes assimilation of the content of the course;
(iv) Twitter allows students to review the contents of the subject, and
(v) Twitter provides informal learning.
The perception of students about the usefulness of Twitter during the development of the subject was statistically independent of the technological level of the students (measured as high, medium or low). Furthermore, there were no significant differences between students who had Twitter before the start of the course and students who started using Twitter after.
Finally, the results show that students who used the Smartphones for this activity had a greater perceived usefulness of social network that the students who used other devices.