Using Twitter in the Classroom – Outlining the Issue: Part 1

I am currently completing my Masters in Secondary Teaching and will be posting my current assignment to this blog in order to demonstrate how 21st century technology can be used in the classroom.   

The issue I wish to address in this assessment task is student engagement with the teaching and learning. This is a broad issue that can be addressed in a number of different ways. In order to ensure, student engagement the teaching should be student-centric (Noe et al, 2010).  It should also address three separate issues (Kahn, 1990):

  1. Relevance – the student can see that there is meaning behind what they are learning and they recognise that learning is not a waste of effort and time;
  2. Safety – the student is reassured because he or she knows that the classroom is a safe place, where his or her self-expression will not lead to negative repercussions; and
  3. Availability of resources – the required resources are accessible by the student when they are needed;

Since relevance is so important to engagement, teachers need to ensure that their lessons are not perceived as outdated. Sometimes this opinion is difficult to overcome. What students see as interesting or relevant may be affected by their own individual interests. Using 21st century technological tools can help tackle this perception of being ‘outdated.’ I propose that using a social networking site like Twitter can encourage engagement both inside and outside the classroom. When used well, it can foster peer collaboration, individual research and critical analysis.

An important distinction to point out is the fact that today’s student is growing up in a different culture than previous generations. This new generation of student has been called the Neomillennial learner (Dede, 2009; Willems, 2008) and it has been accepted that this digitally literate generation requires the following to be incorporated into the pedagogical framework employed in their classroom:

  1. Becoming fluent in multiple media;
  2. Actively learning the material through collective collaboration;
  3. Expressing themselves through non-linear webs of representations as well as linear media; and
  4. Co-designing the learning experiences with the students in order to personalise the teaching and learning to their individual needs and preferences;

The Neomillennial learner tends to gravitate to group activity; values being considered intelligent; is drawn to new developing technologies; and is, as a group, racially and ethnically diverse (Oblinger, 2004; Raines, 2002). The social aspect of learning has been widely accepted as important (Vygotsky in Deed, 2015; Smith, 1999). An effective teacher recognizes these characteristics and increases engagement by providing opportunities for the students to develop skills in these areas. They also employ multiple modes of learning like group or pair activities. There have been studies which demonstrate that applying Information and Communication Technology (“ICT”) in education positively impacts upon student engagement (McFarlane, 2003; Andretta, 2005). In order to meet the needs of a changing workforce landscape, society now requires students to be “expert learners” (Ertmer and Newby, 1996) or life-long learners, who graduate with creativity, diverse skills, ICT skills and flexibility (Darling-Hammond, 2006; Levy and Murnane, 2004).

Implementing the use of Twitter would need to be undertaken with the approval of the school’s principal, with the appropriate cyber-safety protocols implemented. This might be as simple as requiring each student to set up a school Twitter account, which is monitored both by their parents and the teacher. It might mean that the teacher sets up a class account that can be accessed by each and every student. It is highly unlikely that the students would be able to continue to use their personal Twitter pages for this exercise. The teacher may also have to spend a lesson or even multiple lessons going over the school’s ICT policy to ensure that the students are clear on the parameters of what is appropriate on a school-safe Twitter account. Through monitoring tweets, there would be potential teaching moments about digital citizenship, cyber-safety and what is safe to share online (KQED et al, 2015).

For a teacher to use Twitter effectively, he or she might wish to create an individualised hashtag for the students to use in any post related to the teaching and learning. That way all posts would appear in the same conversation thread. The hashtag system could be used to differentiate between individual topics, units or, alternatively, it could be the same hashtag the whole way through the year.

In my next blog post, I will attempt not only to justify the use of twitter, I will also actively demonstrate it. In order to demonstrate this, I have created my own hashtag for each post relating to this assessment task (#MTeachWWIIyr10) on my own personal Twitter account. The link for this thread is as follows: or by typing in the hashtag into the search button. I will include a copy of this thread in the hard copy, which will be submitted. I hope to show the various applications for a year 10 History class studying World War II.


  1. Andretta, S. (2005). Information Literacy: A practitioner’s guide. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing, Ltd.
  2. Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). “Constructing 21st-Century Teacher Education.” Journal of Teacher Education. 57(3): 300-314.
  3. Dede, C. (2009) Comparing Frameworks for “21st Century Skills.” Harvard Graduate School of Education. 1 – 16, 10. Retrieved on April 8, 2015 from
  4. Deed, C. (2015). EDU5PFL Planning for learning (1st ed). South Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning Australia.
  5. Ertmer, P. A. & Newby, T. J. (1996). ‘The expert learner: Strategic, self-regulated and reflective.’ Instructional Science. 24: 1 – 24. Retrieved on April 8, 2015 from
  6. Foreman, J. (2003). “Next generation educational technology versus the lecture.” EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved June 29, 2015 from
  7. Kahn, W. A. (1990). Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work. Academy of Management Journal. 33: 692-724.
  8. KQED, Trust and Safety Team at Twitter, Levin, S., Morris, C., and Williams, B. (2015). “Guide to Using Twitter in your Teaching Practice.” KQED Education. Retrieved on September 17, 2015 from
  9. Lamb, A. (2006). Inferential Thinking Across the Curriculum. Retrieved March 12, 2015, from
  10. Levy, F. & Murnane, R. J. (2004). The new division of labor: How computers are creating the next job market. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  11. McFarlane, A. (2003). “Assessment for the digital age.” Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice. 10:261-66.
  12. Noe, R. A., Tews, M. J. & McConnell Dachner, A. (2010). ‘Learner Engagement: A New Perspective for Enhancing Our Understanding of Learner Motivation and Workplace Learning.’ The Academy of Management Annals. 4(1): 279-315. Retrieved April 8, 2015 from
  13. Oblinger, D. (2004). “The Next Generation of Educational Engagement.” Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 8:1-18.
  14. Raines, C. (2002). “Managing Millennials,” in Oblinger, D. (2004). “The Next Generation of Educational Engagement.” Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 8:1-18.
  15. Smith, M. K. (1999) The Social/ Situational Orientation to Learning. Retrieved March 6, 2015, from
  16. Willems, J. (2008). “From sequential to global: Exploring the landscapes of neomillennial learners.” Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology? Proceedings ASCALITE Melbourne 2008, 1103-1113. Retrieved on February 28. 2015, from

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