Using Twitter and Twitter Chats as Educational Tools

How to use Twitter and Twitter Chats as Educational Tools - #TwitterSmarter chat with Alberto Gómez on January 16, 2020

For most of us, Twitter is a go-to for news and casual conversations with friends and others in our industry. Without even thinking much about it, we learn a lot of new information and share our knowledge with each other. That’s continuing education, and it’s essential for anyone looking for career growth.

Alberto Gómez is a blogger with a long-time experience in the publishing industry. He’s worked with a range of clients and has extensive knowledge about education and sustained learning. Plus, he’s a member of our #TwitterSmarter team. He seemed the ideal person to talk to about the changing trends in our typical education industry as well as how people are adopting Twitter for everyday learning.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Topic: Using Twitter and Twitter Chats as Educational Tools
Guest: Alberto Gómez
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to answer.

Q1: How has technology changed over the years for the education industry?

If you think about the internet as a whole, until about 15-20 years ago, there was nothing significant for the education industry to speak of. In fact, as Tim pointed out, it’s always been a rather conservative.

As our guest Alberto mentioned, in the past, most people went directly from school to the workplace and learning ended right there. However, recently, education has taken a modern twist. More and more enterprises realize the value of flexible learning. For example, global giants like Apple, IBM, Google, and Microsoft not only let their employees learn online, but they also sometimes sponsor such continued learning experiences.

All this, as Vítor specified, has given rise to the modern digital age, giving us more options like online MOOCs, learn-at-your-own-pace courses, and interactive tools, and training videos on YouTube.

Q2: What is EdTech?

Educational Technology or edtech refers to the use of software and hardware products to enhance learning experiences.

In a broad sense, as Eddie said, it indicates teachers using modern technology to improve the way they teach students within the classroom.

Over time, the meaning of edtech has evolved into refer to all kinds of learning, even beyond the standard classroom age. None of this is new, of course. Technology in education has been around for a while, but it’s catapulted recently because the internet has become cheaper and easily accessible around the world and mobile gadgets are more prevalent. Whether you’re looking to learn a new cuisine or the history of Old English, you can do it all online.

Tools and methodologies like Duolingo, Udemy, OpenEnglish, and even Wikipedia are all conveyors or edtech.

In a way, chats like #TwitterSmarter, also help people improve their knowledge, serving as a teacher.

Q3: How can you use Twitter as a medium of education?

Twitter is obviously one of the most progressive communication channels we have today. Not only does it encourage sharing of opinions about every imaginable topic, but it’s also a way for like-minded people to meet at specified times and brainstorm ideas using a common hashtag—like during Twitter chats.

Alberto shared some good ideas to use Twitter in an educational sense. For instance, you can share content in threads or make Moments about certain topics for anyone to consume. You can use videos, images, GIFs, and live streaming channels to have a more interactive communication with your community, and learn something yourself in the process.

Teachers use Twitter inside the classroom as well. And Avery suggested a few more ideas from that perspective. For example, teachers can have a dedicated hashtag for their class and encourage students to discuss on social media, finding each other through the common hashtag.

Another idea is to have students read threads and research topics using Advanced Search, or even to observe what industry leaders share and how they engage with their audiences. All these are powerful ways to learn and improve their understanding of proper social media usage.

Q4: What are some EdTech Twitter chats?

Alberto mentioned a specific chat he likes. One is #CyACartuja where the instructor uses the hashtag to connect students with the professionals in the business and marketing industry. It’s an excellent way to ensure students get some exposure.

In addition to that, our guest also shared an interesting introduction article about education Twitter chats. Check it out here.

Dr. Donald also shared some of his favourite chats, namely, #LTHEchat, #CCOutcomes, and #ChatOnEducation.

And if you’re in the education industry, here’s a great place to find some new education-related chats.

Q5: What are the main Twitter features you use for education?

Alberto’s top feature to use for education is a Twitter chat. Think about it: it’s the easiest way to get people to interact with each other. It’s so easy and intuitive that you don’t even have to learn how to use the system. Besides, the best part of Twitter is that it’s open to the public. Students not only get to share with each other, but they also get the opportunity to discuss and learn from a wider network of people.

Twitter videos are quite powerful as well. You can upload videos of unto 140 seconds, as Alberto said. That’s more than 2 whole minutes! Considering the speed of Twitter, that’s a lot of time you can utilize to share meaningful messages. Here’s Twitter’s guide on how to use the Media Studio.

And here’s a helpful article from Madalyn that explains more about using the Media Studio to improve your reach.

Yet another great feature is Twitter Moments. A largely unappreciated feature, this lets you collect tweets of the same topic and package it as one easy-to-read piece. For example, if you’re a science teacher, you could compile the top 10 household science experiments tweeted out by people from all over the world, and present it as a project for your students. Or if you’re a business coach, you could collect tweets that talk about strategy and marketing.

As our friends from Sked Social mentioned, Twitter Lists are a great feature too. Aside from being a way to group together a bunch of people in the same industry, you can also make your list public so people can subscribe to it. It’s an ideal way to share knowledge and learn as well.

Q7: What are some challenges in teaching through Twitter?

One of the major challenges of using Twitter for education is that most of the younger generation doesn’t see Twitter as a viable social tool. Most of them use Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok even, but Twitter is still alien for them. Despite the fact that the world’s most important news items, political incidents, and incidents are discussed and shared through Twitter, those who don’t already use the platform often miss out on its value.

Therefore, anyone hoping to spread knowledge through Twitter needs to evangelize the benefits of network on the platform.

Our friends from The Karcher Group made a good point about being overwhelmed on Twitter. Since it’s such a dynamic platform with rapidly moving discussions, it’s too easy to get over-involved at first, feel a burn out, and then become overrun with emotion because there’s so much you can’t keep up with.

Also, like Jonni said, it can be difficult to get educators adopt new technology and online leaning systems.

Q8: How do you plan for a course or an educational series on Twitter?

Alberto follows a systematic process. First he asks himself if he can effectively teach the topic on Twitter. Once he knows he can convey his lessons, he figures out a way to create micro content. A great example of using micro content efficiently is Gary Vee, who strategically distributes a larger piece of content in small chunks.

Next, our guest turns to Twitter for research. He observes his audience’s behaviour and how they respond to interactions. All of this helps him identify the right tone and the type of material he should include in his course.

Finally, equipped with all the information, Alberto creates the content itself, including tweet copy, images and GIFs, videos, and calls to action buttons. To do that, he uses tools like Canva, Inkscape, Twitter Media Studio, and TweetDeck.

Of course, there’re more ways to go about planning an educational series. Another great place to start is by asking your audience what they want to hear from you. If you’re a teacher or a coach, most of your followers will be students and potential clients interested in learning from you. Survey them and see what they have to say. That can be a highly relevant way to come up with a curriculum.

Well, folks. That’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading, and if you’d like to see more insights from our chat with Alberto, check out this Twitter Moment Joana put together. Hope to see you around on our next #TwitterSmarter chat at 1pm ET on Thursday.


About me, Narmadhaa:

I’m a writer of all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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