While those types of tweets are still very common, the tool is also being used to offer customer support (http://twitter.com/trackthis, UPS), sell products (http://twitter.com/GMblogs), inform about current events (http://twitter.com/iranelection) and more.
Of special interest to educators are the suggestions offered by Jim Vanides in his Digital Learning Environments blog back in early June 2009 (http://tinyurl.com/oh9mgk). He suggests using Twitter:
- To create “a backchannel…for student participation (posting questions/comments) during a large group presentation – sort of like giving the audience permission to pass notes, because you can give the note-passing a metacognitive purpose.” Jim has seen this technique used at education conferences and we’ll give this a try at SIDLIT (the Summer Institute on Distance Learning and Instructional Technology scheduled for July 30-31, 2009; see www.sidlit.org).
- For “real-time collaboration” among students, such as when on a field trips.
- To enhance audience participation at athletic events.
- To communicate with a specific audience such as “students’ parents” or alumni or campus clubs (instead of “always creating lengthy newsletters or wading through lots of email”).
- To handle conference planning or to provide “non-attendees” a sense of “being there”. Check out www.twitter.com/sidlit.