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A study of the use of Twitter by students for lecture engagement and discussion

Abstract

Research indicates that student engagement with lectures, and participation in discussion and debate, greatly improve their learning and experience of University. The nature of some lectures means they can lack opportunities for interaction and active learning. For this reason it can be difficult for some students, especially students new to University, to fully engage in lectures, and interact with their peers. This study attempts to use Twitter as a means of increasing these opportunities for interaction and engagement for students, especially those who may lack the confidence to engage traditionally. As a first step, the study analyses the use of Audience Response Systems to understand the role technology can play in providing opportunities for interaction. Following this, a review of experiments conducted using Twitter is carried out. While there is a dearth of research in this area, these cases provide some valuable insights into the use of this technology and its integration into education. In the methodology section, the process of using Twitter in lectures is explained, along with some of the challenges and obstacles faced. Findings presented indicate that while adoption of Twitter was low, the platform provides engagement opportunities for timid members of the group, while having a generally positive impact on engagement and discussion for the group as a whole. Finally, emerging uses of the Twitter platform are examined, allowing the reader glimpse possibilities for future integration.

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Correspondence to Peter Tiernan.

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Tiernan, P. A study of the use of Twitter by students for lecture engagement and discussion. Educ Inf Technol 19, 673–690 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-012-9246-4

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Keywords

  • Twitter
  • Audience response systems
  • Interaction
  • Engagement
  • Discussion
  • Technology
  • Social media