Like the author I think that Twitter is an effective means of linking to professional or personal learning networks, and depending on the types of online social networks we engage in (people we follow and those who follow us), Twitter can enable information retrieval in relation to topics of interest and dialogue with others leading to possible learning.
In my research exploration I have found that the no 1 use of Twitter among a group of higher education professionals was for information retrieval. Many of the my case study group are Twitter ‘lurkers’ checking into Twitter every so often to retrieve nuggets of information they consider useful for professional practice. These nuggets are sometimes squirrelled away for later retrieval and implementation.
Terry Heick rightly (above article) emphasises that “it depends on how it’s [twitter] used”.
This resonates with my own findings and reflections on the use of Twitter with HE professionals to date. I have become conscious and aware of that people engage in Twitter differently depending on their learning need or how they value learning.
I haven’t fully finished my visualization on the layers and types of professional learning that take place via Twitter , but put simply:
- Information retrieval -> Surface learning
- Retweeters, creating an echo chamber -> Surface learning
- Opinion givers, conscious criticism, online conversations, trigger for think about practice and rethinking and adjusting their professional practices – >Deeper learning
I see value in use of Twitter as a learning tool, but as educators we need to question our use of the tool, how we use it, how we engage with peers and scholars across the network that Twitter enables. I would like to encourage that as educators we bring our Tweets a step further and deeper and engage in meaningful discussion that trigger reflection and possible transformation of perspective and practice……Lets start thinking critically of how we can use Twitter to enhance our professional learning……..