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 which means it is difficult to control the focus in a way that is relevant to me.
As a result, 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).