Reading, Writing and ... Tweeting?: Studies Show Advantages of Using Twitter for Class

 
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"twitterclassroom," an image remix by brunsell on Flickr.

11.8.10 | A small but impressive study of students at Lockhaven University in Pennsylvania found that those who used Twitter to continue class discussions and complete assignments were more engaged in their classwork than students who did not. From Mashable:

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.

The 19-question survey was based on the National Survey of Student Engagement. The findings will be published this week in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.

The study was conducted by Rey Junco, an associate professor and director of disability services at Lock Haven University. His research focuses on using quantitative methods to assess the effects of social media on student development, engagement and success. Visit his blog for a recent USA Today chat he did on social media, multitasking and learning, and video from a talk Junco gave at the Berkman Center in December 2009 on the preliminary findings of the Twitter study.

This study is not the only one to show the potential advantages of using Twitter in the classroom. An earlier study [pdf] by Joanna C. Dunlap and Patrick R. Lowenthal from the University of Colorado at Denver found that Twitter was able to “enhance social presence” and produce other instructional benefits in an online course.

Another experiment into the use of social media at the University of Leicester found that tweeting helps to develop peer support among students and personal learning networks and can be used as a data collection tool. Read a more detailed description of the experiment here. [via Faculty Focus]

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