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Tweeting to connect: support students’ development as professionals with social media

Narelle Lemon

Social media in higher education, and specifically learning and teaching, is a relatively new area for pedagogical consideration. In my research over the past few years I have focused on the integration of social media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest and blogs into Teacher Education.  In this blog post, I’m focusing on Twitter and the use within higher education from experience having integrated the platform with pre-service teachers into their professional study experiences.

I am an advocate for the integration of Twitter as a means of: forming digital identities, generating content, generating supportive networks, and ultimately supporting future professional development. My research has explored the benefits of social media to explore the co-construction of knowledge in a collaborative space where the 140 character tweets and process of tweeting, as well as re-tweeting, using hashtags, and connecting with industry professionals, can support thinking. The use of Twitter in the higher education space is considered in relation to both the pedagogical decision making of academic teachers and concepts of community connectedness. Through case studies across multiple cohorts of both undergraduate and postgraduate students I have illuminated the opportunities of using Twitter as a means of assisting students to develop a professional identity, while at the same time crossing disciplinary boundaries and engaging with community. At the center of integrating social media into the classroom is teacher presence; that is the teacher using the platform with the students as co-learners.

My top ten tips for and how Twitter can support exploration of content and knowledge production associated to higher education studies is shared in this infographic. Social media is a powerful tool in supporting the formation of a community whereby reciprocity is enacted in the curating of resources, posing of questions, and connecting to professional sources of information.

TwitterYou can read more about my research into Twitter and higher education and education here:

Tweeting as a Pre-Service Teacher: Learning to use Twitter for Professional use

Pre-Service Teachers Engaging with Twitter as a Professional Online Learning Environment

New practices in doing academic development: Twitter as an informal learning space

Academics who tweet:“messy” identities in academia

Social Media Challenges and Affordances for International Students Bridges, Boundaries, and Hybrid Spaces