Twitter for learning … or not?

Pixabay_Jills_6.7.17

A recent Open University activity asked students to consider the value of Twitter for learning and collaboration.  A fellow student created a private group conversation on Twitter for us to discuss whether we felt that Twitter could act as a learning environment to support our academic work, and be a place to share feedback.  Some believed that there is potential to share and comment, and find value in the focus of relevant hashtag conversations.

However, my personal opinion (and I must confess that I’m not an experienced Twitter user) – is that I haven’t found Twitter very useful as a specific research/study tool.  I find the fast-paced scrolling news-type layout makes my engagement with the application, and the items being displayed, more transitory.  The more sources that you follow, the faster things appear and disappear.

In an attempt to use it as an academic resource, I started by following only study-related sources.  But they can be peppered with personal, and other, content – so I found it difficult to control the focus in a way that is relevant to me.

So I have gradually switched to using Twitter for viewing more personally interesting content (whether learning-related or not) – so it’s become a kind of personalised news feed, which is therefore primarily for entertainment.

Can you learn from Twitter … yes (incidentally and haphazardly).  Is it a learning resource … no (well not for me).

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2 thoughts on “Twitter for learning … or not?”

  1. I like your point about the newsfeed layout and fast pace as barriers to Twitter as a learning tool. Do you think the UI could be redesigned to improve its potential for learning? Or would it lose the features that make it so popular for entertainment?

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    1. I don’t think that Twitter would have an interest in changing it – as you suggest, because of the risk of affecting the popularity of their service. The fast-pace is what keeps you coming back to engage with their site regularly. Which means that you add more activity information to their database; and that data is their business.

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