Twitter has caught fire across many professional fields as well as personally, but it seems to be in the beginning stages in the realm of higher education. The creative ways Twitter users have incorporated microblogging has become inspirational, so the recent trend of using Twitter at college, including at online colleges, is sure to keep evolving into an ever more impressive tool. Make sure you don’t get left behind by incorporating some of these educational and fun ways that Twitter can be used in the college classroom.
Twitter offers new and exciting ways to open up the lines of communication in the classroom. Find out some of the ways it can work with this list.
- Direct Tweet. Professors and students can contact each other through direct Tweets without having to share cell phone numbers. This could be useful if you’re ever in a jam on some finance course work and need assistance.
- Get to know your classmates. A class Twitter group will help facilitate professors and students getting to know each other, especially if the class is part of a more intimate setting such as a seminar.
- Collaborate on projects. When working together on projects, set up a group using an app like Tweetworks to facilitate communication between everyone working together.
- Make announcements. Professors can send out reminders about upcoming tests, project due dates, or any news that needs to be shared via Twitter.
- Brainstorm. The ability to share ideas as the occur any time and any where creates an excellent opportunity for brainstorming on class topics.
- Take a poll. Ask student their opinions or get feedback on future projects or topics by using an app like PollDaddy.
- Share interesting websites. Both professors and students can post interesting websites that are relevant to their class.
- Daily learning. Twitter feeds happen much more frequently than the two or three times a day a student is in class, therefore using Twitter in the classroom means there is a daily opportunity for learning.
- Ambient awareness. This blog post on TwiTip offers an excellent description of ambient awareness and how it facilitates getting to know those you follow in more meaningful ways.
Class Projects and Discovering Content
From learning how to use Twitter to finding useful information for class to practicing a foreign language, Twitter provides creative opportunities for learning.
- Twitter-specific projects. Help students learn how to use Twitter by offering assignments such as this one from the Georgia Southern University instructor. Explore similar offerings at other online colleges in Georgia here.
- Spread the news. Those enrolled in online colleges for journalism can send out Tweets with sports updates, academic competition results, and campus news via Twitter feed.
- Practice brevity. English professors can assign stories that must be Tweeted within the 140 character limit to practice writing with succinctness. In addition to benefits for students enrolled in online colleges for English, this exercise provides an advantage to those studying online marketing at online colleges, as well.
- twittories. Another great English class activity, participate in creating a story where each person can add 140 characters to contribute to the story as a whole. Also especially helpful for students enrolled in online colleges for creative writing.
- Keep up with politicians. Many politicians are on Twitter. A political science, current events, or even law class can get real-time updates from politicians.
- Practice a foreign language. Language classes can take advantage of the opportunity to communicate in the target language of the class by finding native speakers on Twitter. Many online colleges for foreign languages are now encouraging regular use of this modern method of communication.
- Follow mentors. If professors or other key figures in your field of study are on Twitter, follow them to keep up with their research and activities.
- Follow an idea, word, or event. Send “track ___” with whatever word, event, or idea you want to follow in the blank, and you will receive Tweets that contain that keyword.
- Follow news stories. From sources such as @Reuters to @CNNMoney to @NatGeoSociety, students and professors can follow news that may pertain to their class.
- Have a Twitter treasure hunt. Follow the example given here to create a treasure hunt. Instead of winning a prize, students complete the assignment after collecting all the information necessary for the hunt.
- Twitter search. The search tool on Twitter will immediately provide you with any Tweets including your keyword. Give it a try to see what you may discover.
- twiggit. Find interesting news articles or articles relevant to a current topic in class and share the results with this app that combines Digg with Twitter.
These tools will help you use Twitter more efficiently so you can make the most of what it has to offer and it doesn’t take up too much of your valuable time.
- Twhirl. This desktop client helps manage your Twitter experience through such helpful features as URL shortening, new message notifications, image posting, and more.
- QuoteURL. A great tool for summarizing a Twitter project, this tool will put different Tweets together on one page.
- TwitPic. This app lets you share photos on Twitter, which can be useful for sharing visuals in class projects.
- Tweetree. Put your Tweets in context with this app that groups entire conversations together.
- bit.ly. Shorten URLs so that you use fewer characters when sharing web links with this tool.
- TwitterNotes. This app makes it simple to keep private notes for yourself among your Tweets.
- TweetScan. Get Tweets emailed to you based on keywords you select with this tool.
- TweetDeck. This app allows you to create groups of Tweets to better manage all the information you receive.
- TweetGrid. Create a customized search dashboard to facilitate your Twitter searches with this tool.
- TwitterFone. For those on the go, this tool allows you to leave a voice message that will be turned into a Tweet.
- Tweet Later. For reminders and announcements, use this app to write Tweets that you can schedule for posting in the future.
Finding People in Academia to Follow
If you need help finding professors, students, or other people associated with your field of interest, check out this list.
- Twitter Professors: 18 People to Follow for a Real Time Education. Mashable’s Lon S. Cohen lists 18 professors you should follow and why.
- Twitter Grader. This tool will grade your Twitter presence, but it also provides a listing of the Twitter elite in your area, providing an excellent opportunity to find people to follow.
- Follow Fridays. This popular activity of recommending others to follow provides you an excellent opportunity to find professors, among others.
- Tweetizen. Use this tool to find groups of others on Twitter with your same interests or start your own group.
- TwitterLocal. Find local Twitter users based on whichever geographic location you supply. This tool is used in conjunction with Adobe AIR.
- WeFollow. Add yourself and find others in this user-powered Twitter directory where you can search by hashtags.
- Twubble. This tool searches your friend graph and selects others you may be interested in following. This is a great way to discover others associated with your school.
- Colleges & Universities Directory. From Just Tweet It, this directory will connect you with others in academia–both professors and students.
- Professors :: Twellow. Professors on Twitter can add themselves to this directory. Find out if there is anyone from your school listed here.
Get Ready for Life After Graduation
For Twittering students nearing the end of their college experience and getting ready to move to a career, these tips and tools are invaluable.
- Establish a positive web presence. Twittering in college offers students an opportunity to establish a personal web presence that will help after graduation when the job search begins based on work at school. Just be sure not to post about any crazy parties or other activities so you don’t negate the positive work you’ve built.
- Follow your occupation. Use the tracking method in #17 to enter the profession you want to practice, then follow what is being said about it on Twitter.
- Follow your target company. No matter which company with which you want to start your career, they probably have a Twitter feed. Follow them and keep up-to-date with the news and learn about the culture of the company before you even start to interview there.
- Start looking for a job. Read about how to find a job on Twitter, then start working your Twitter magic.
- twitterjobcast. Search for jobs posted on Twitter by keyword or geographic location with this tool.
- TweetMyJobs. This job search tool allows job seekers and employers to find each other via Twitter.
- Follow @jobhunting. From tips for recent college grads to recession-proof job information, this Twitter feed offers tons of information.
- Post about your job hunt. If you have created a positive web image and connected with plenty of people in your desired field, you may be surprised what happens when you post about your job hunt on Twitter.
- 50 People on Twitter Job Seekers Should Follow. This blog post offers 50 great resources for job seekers and also has a follow-up post with even more.