Students who don’t have the confidence to speak out in class can benefit from Twitter, a new study has found.
According to the Courier Mail, new research from Southern Cross University has found strong benefits for the use of Twitter by students who are too embarrassed or uncomfortable to ask teachers questions in the time-honoured raised-hand method.
Jeremy Novak from Southern Cross and Michael Cowling from Central Queensland University, studied the use of Twitter among university students as a method for asking questions and gaining feedback without having to stand the stares and scrutiny of fellow students.
The positive feedback from students, particularly international students, has convinced the research team that classrooms at high and even primary school level could embrace the use of Twitter technology.
“Twitter is another exciting teaching aide that is highly under-utilised by lecturers and teachers in the education sector,” the Daily telegraph quoted Novak as saying.
“Hopefully it would lead to fewer passengers in the classroom and allow those students who are less likely to engage with teachers, for social or cultural reasons, to participate,” he said.
Under the recent study, students were able to send anonymous tweets to teachers asking for better explanations or more detailed answers to questions during university lectures.
The tweets were sent directly to the teacher’s computer and accessed through PowerPoint presentations.
However, Novak said some obstacles need to be overcome to ensure that Twitter becomes an effective classroom tool and not the time-waster it can be among other demographics of society.
Students pretending to tweet questions to teachers while really texting friends or updating their Facebook status would be the 21st century equivalent of mischievous schoolkids hiding comic books inside their textbooks.
“Computers are already commonplace at all levels of schooling so this is where it would be up to the teacher or lecturer to set clear boundaries on what the technology is used for,” he said.
There would also be the issue of having Generation Y students with vastly superior social networking skills to those of teachers who learnt their craft before the computer era arrived.
“Teachers would have to be savvy with the technology, but if those things were overcome there is no reason this could not be used to augment teaching methods,” Novak said.
“We don’t see Twitter replacing actual class participation or interaction, but it could be a very valuable tool to add to the teacher’s toolbox,” he added.