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Twitter for teaching: Can social media be used to enhance the process of learning?

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Abstract

Can social media be used to enhance the process of learning by students in higher education? Social media have become widely adopted by students in their personal lives. However, the application of social media to teaching and learning remains to be fully explored. In this study, the use of the social media tool Twitter for teaching was considered. Undergraduate students in Business and Management (n = 252) were encouraged to use Twitter for communicating with their tutor and each other during a 12-week course. Their involvement was evaluated using a survey considering amount of Twitter usage and students' attitudes and experiences. The data were analysed using factor analyses, which revealed a single usage construct and three attitudinal factors. Three findings emerged. Firstly, a positive correlation was found between amount of Twitter usage and student engagement in university-associated activities including organising their social lives and sharing information. Secondly, course-related tweeting was not related to interpersonal relationships between students and their tutor. Thirdly, Twitter usage did not impact class attendance. The results are salient for educational practitioners wishing to introduce social media into their teaching.

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