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Exploring the Use of Twitter as a Higher Education Professional and in the Classroom

At the Annual Teaching and Learning Conference the keynote speaker, José Bowen, cited Twitter as a way to engage students in learning outside of the classroom. This statement struck a chord with me because I have been wanting to increase my online presence, but it did not occur to me that I could also be using Twitter to facilitate student learning.

Managing My Online Presence

Many articles like this one cite the importance of creating and maintaining a professional online presence.  Your online presence shapes how others perceive you, affects your credibility as a professional and now plays an important role in a professional job search.

I recently Googled myself and noticed that one of the first things listed was the twitter account I created in graduate school and have not used consistently since. Other things that popped up were my profile on the OTLA website, and photos from my wedding. If someone were to look me up online, they would learn where I work and that I got married a year and a half ago. Not terrible, but my online presence could be better. Ideally, I would like people to learn about my professional interests and aspirations. I want to be viewed as someone who is positively contributing to the field of education. A fairly simple way to accomplish this is to use Twitter. By utilizing Twitter, I will be able to easily identify what topics are trending in the higher education field and engage in timely conversations with other professionals. This will allow me to intentionally manage my online presence.  I found the following resources helpful in learning how to effectively use Twitter:

How to Start Tweeting and Why You Might Want to

10 Twitter Tips for Higher Education

Twitter in the Classroom

photo of twitter bird

photo from flickr creative commons user mkhmarketing

Twitter can also be a great educational tool for instructors. It is an easy way to keep discussion flowing outside of the classroom and helps to create a sense of community among the students.  One of the easiest ways to begin using twitter in the classroom is to create a hashtag for your class (example: #BIO101). This will allow students to communicate with each other and you in real time, and the hashtag can also be used to share news articles or other reference materials quickly. I found the following articles that list ideas for using Twitter as an educational tool:

5 Unique Uses of Twitter in the Classroom

50 Ways to Use Twitter in the College Classroom

Continue the Conversation

I am looking forward to using Twitter in my work with students because it will encourage them to find ways to express themselves concisely and to share resources with their peers.  I am also excited to begin exploring the use of Twitter as a professional development tool for myself.

Are you using Twitter in your classroom? Do you have any tips for managing your online presence via Twitter? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet the DePaul Teaching Commons @DPUTC.

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