Study: Twitter boosts grades/engagement for college students

A new study from Michigan State University suggests that university students that use Twitter as part of their education feel more connected to why they are learning and do better in class.

From Mashable.com:

“Christina Greenhow, an assistant professor of education at Michigan State University, discovered that students using the microblogging service as part of their education are more engaged and have higher grades. In fact, she considers it “a new literary practice,” as she explains in her study “Twitteracy: Tweeting as a New form of Literary Practice.”

“Greenhow taught a class that required each student to have a Twitter account that was used in different ways throughout the semester. She noticed students were more engaged than in the twitter-less past. “

The video also reports that a 2010 study from a Pennsylvania school agreed that Twitter helped raise grades.

I teach Twitter as part of my digital media class but I think it’s much harder for people to get than Facebook. (Twitter has a much lower usage rate than Facebook, but it is growing.) Other teachers in the program suggest letting shy kids Tweet questions to you during class, which I think could work for a large lecture class. But I only have 20 students generally and I can usually tell if they aren’t getting something.

I could see how Twitter could help them feel more connected to their classmates and help them share information easily.

Are your college students using Twitter? If so, how?

71 comments Add your comment

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motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
6:35 am

Since I know nothing about Twitter, I will leave it to those who do. Have a great weekend all! I thought the trees were pretty in Knoxville, TN but the trees are amazing here in ABQ, NM and I am having fun meeting new people too!

Progress Humanist

October 26th, 2012
7:18 am

I don’t see mention of the journal the study was published (here or in the link), but from what is described it sounds like an extremely weak study. The professor did the research on one (one: n = 20?, n = 25?) of her own classes with no control group for comparison and seemed to use qualitative observational data to subjectively come to a conclusion about whether this class was more engaged than cohorts from a different time period. In research we wouldn’t just consider that evidence weak, we’d consider it nonexistent.

Uh, let's ponder...

October 26th, 2012
7:36 am

…it says “Greenhow taught a class that required each student to have a Twitter account that was used in different ways throughout the semester. She noticed students were more engaged than in the twitter-less past. “

Now, the students were REQUIRED to have a Twitter account and this brilliant “scholar” “noticed students were more engaged than in the twitter-less past” – Uh, I believe that most professors who require students to do stuff for class credit find that the students are more “engaged” in whatever it is that they are required to do.

And to think that she thinks she is on to something – D’OH…

Georgia

October 26th, 2012
7:42 am

Does she teach a drivers ed class? I don’t think driving and texting are supposed to go together. If she teaches sex ed, then the smart phones will come in handy, because you can download free xxx websites. If she teaches any other subject, then the class will devolve into bowed heads and raised hunt-and-pecking thumbs. Anyone else ever notice that texting requires the same muscles that you use to solve a rubic’s cube? Now that’s an engaged class. I can guess the tweets: “I’m sitting in class tweeting. It’s just so coowallll! Becky Sue in front of me is wearing a blouse she already wore on Monday. She’s such a double wide. Are you going to the mall after school?”.

A reader

October 26th, 2012
8:10 am

Literary genius, 140 characters at a time….

Chaos

October 26th, 2012
8:28 am

I like to post, even if I have nothing constructive or relevant to add to the discussion.

Have a great weekend all!

Voice of Reason

October 26th, 2012
8:46 am

I have over 1000 followers on Twitter. I guess lots of people think like I do and like what I have to say…who knows?

Mayhem

October 26th, 2012
8:51 am

No twittering here….the kids might, but I have no clue about it, so I don’t use it.

How do you get 1,000 followers? Why would 1,000 people want to follow someone? I’m not being sarcastic, I just don’t understand this twitter thing…

Roberta

October 26th, 2012
8:51 am

I feel so sorry for the poor widdle students who feel like they need to be connected outside the classroom.

As if spending $15 – $50k per year on their education isn’t motivation enough.

RJ

October 26th, 2012
9:03 am

My teenagers have told me many times that only “old people” use Facebook. They say twitter is where it’s at lol! I don’t quite get the twitter thing but I love Facebook. Actually this technology has me speaking to my friends less and less, just texting or chatting on Facebook. But on topic, I can see how kids would be more engaged. They tweet all day and many of them tweet things that their parents would cringe reading. I follow my kids, which is why my son no longer has a twitter account. His choice of words were not acceptable, he was warned, ignored us, and now doesn’t have that privilege.

Voice of Reason

October 26th, 2012
9:03 am

I accumulated them over about three years time. You just start talking about things you like and know about and people with similar interests basically just “follow” you so that whenever you say something it shows up in their timeline and they can more easily have a conversation with you. It’s like Facebook status updates, except not usually as narcissistic.

Funny thing is that I have won so many free things from companies because of Twitter. Electronic Arts sent me a free $50 video game to play with my children. Acura sent me a really cool water bottle.

If you know how to use it, it can be really cool. You have to stay with it though and not let it get stale.

just terrible writing

October 26th, 2012
9:07 am

“feel more connected to why they are learning and do better in class” DOES NOT equate to “boosting grades” Good God you lack even thse most basic literary skills.

HB

October 26th, 2012
9:50 am

I think Twitter can be great in large group settings. I’ve been to conferences where presenters actually projected a twitter feed and would stop and answer some of the questions as they went. I thought that worked better than holding all questions until the end of the session without really interrupting either. I’ve also been to smaller meetings, though, where conveners loved Twitter and tried too hard to push people to use it. What was the point? There were fewer than 20 of us around a couple of tables — why not just talk to each other? That same group kept pushing the idea that you could go back and search the hashtag later, but tweets do disappear from searches after a while. If part of the point is to have a running transcript of conversations, I think there are probably better options out there.

FCM

October 26th, 2012
10:40 am

I am having this discussion with the public schools now. The MS now allows Personal Devices (smartphones, iPad ect) in the classroom. The kids can interact with the teacher on the site the teacher recommends.

Since this started my older child is connecting to school in new ways. She had some concerns about a project so she emailed the teacher from home that night (in the past she would have had to ask the next day and likely forgot to ask). She can comment on the class blogs (in some cases) and get information from peers. They do trivia quiz like things where you ping in the answer to questions. The kids are loving it.

The MS teachers update the blog daily with class assignments and one teacher actually does tweet out reminders of up coming BIG things (projects, major tests etc). It does elimiate the “she never told me” excuse. :)

At the elementary school level it is still abysmal. Less than half of the teachers really use the blogs. Ok so maybe the kids aren’t using them but probably more than half the parents would! 2nd grade teacher was awesome with her blog and it was the best year we ever had. All the parents could see photos, see what was on the calendar etc any time they wanted by blogging in.

Fast foward to the current grade. Only one of 5 teachers uses their blog. My child’s teacher isn’t the one. She started spewing, I put info on the blog when I we sat with the Principal. I pulled the blog up and said the last update was 9/14…so you are saying there were no major assignments, no goings on, nothing to communicate in over a month? She said well i sent paper home. OK, paper, they get lost, they get forgotten, they waste trees, ink, etc….but online we can see it anytime we want….Why on earth would schools not be doing this?

I am all for the twitter and other advances to getting students (all ages) engaged.

Also for using the iPAD (well Google Nexus) for my kids text books so that those backpacks get lighter!

Mayhem

October 26th, 2012
11:19 am

@just terrible – when criticizing someone’s writing skills, it’s best you spell your words correctly AND use punctuation.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 26th, 2012
11:36 am

“It’s like Facebook status updates, except not usually as narcissistic”…..

Isn’t deriving comfort, gratification, and motivation to continue posting just from the knowledge that 1000 people are interested in you kind of the definition of narcissism?

Techmom

October 26th, 2012
11:38 am

My son never logs on to FB anymore unless it’s to look at pictures that some mom (aka me) posted. Teenagers have moved toward Twitter and Instagram and yes, only “old” people use FB! Oh and email too- apparently that’s waaaayyy lame. I told my son that it’s the business standard and as much as he may not like it, he better get used to unless he wants his boss in the future to follow him on Twitter! Ha!

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
11:49 am

@ Chaos…if you are speaking about me, some people are mad when I do post and some fuss about me when I am not even here, some criticize when I post that I know nothing about the topic at hand. I just can’t win with some. That is a fact.

Related topic…I have a question:

I just stayed in a Hilton for 2 nights. I typically get a USA today delivered to my room each morning. Day one, it was there. I noticed all sorts of them laying in the hallway. Evidently, the occupants were not reading them and stepped over them as they left their room . Day two, no paper. I was told that they were cluttering the hallways and so you could get one at the front desk. I like to read mine in my room, before I leave, I am old fashioned and like PAPER. Yes, I could read it online. So…I guess the hard copy will disappear and newspapers will all be online. Lots of printing jobs will be going too.

OFF topic…
A cousin of mine is from the North and now lives in the South. She mentioned, on Facebook, that a new Publix just opened in their area. She went in to shop and did not care for it at all, so left. That surprised me. I inquired and she said the prices were so high. That groceries in the North are so much cheaper. I have NO idea about this. I have never shopped for a full grocery list in the North. Does anyone else know? I do find housing to be cheaper in the south, so that seems to be a trade off. Just wondering.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 26th, 2012
11:52 am

@MJG…I find possum meat to be much cheaper in the south… You can hardly find that in the North.

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
12:04 pm

@who…just kicked you off my list of people whose comments are factual…haha! I do not think possums are a regional animal. Chicago even has a pest removal website that includes them. Perhaps armadillos are? Northerners typically do not eat catfish either. Just sayin’….

Lexi

October 26th, 2012
12:13 pm

Cause or effect?

The Shadow

October 26th, 2012
12:34 pm

@Who

It’s harder to be as narcissistic when you are limited to 140 characters like you are on Twitter.

Voice didn’t say it did not exist, only that it was less pronounced.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 26th, 2012
12:40 pm

@MJG….oh I didn’t say they didn’t exist in the north…I’m just saying you can’t get a good, inexpensive meal made out of them up here like you can down there! ;-)

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 26th, 2012
12:43 pm

@The Shadow….Really? Because I think tweeting “Just had lunch” is about the epitome of narcissism and that was in less than 15 characters….

Susan B. Anthony

October 26th, 2012
12:47 pm

mar·tyr: [mahr-ter] a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning; a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: see also Mother Jane Goose.

Can so many people be so wrong for so many years about this lady?

Techmom

October 26th, 2012
12:49 pm

MJG – I do not think grocery stores in the us vary in prices that much except out west (everything seems more expensive in CA). I do think the “regular” prices of anything at Publix or Kroger seem high but if you shop regularly, you learn what to buy from where and when. Publix is definitely cheaper IMO if you shop correctly (BoGo sale, coupons, only when on sale). I have actually not had time to coupon like i used to (or rather it hasn’t been as big of a priority) so I’ve been running into Aldi weekly and using up our stockpile. My son walked in the other day and declared I need to start couponing again since we’re out of toothpaste!

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
12:57 pm

Thanks Techmom…that is what I thought but I REALLY have no idea what food costs up north since I have not lived there with a family. I too LOVE BOGO and, to me, Publix has some awesome deals. I stock up on everything I need and then buy the regular items too, so I do not find it to be expensive at all. Perhaps if you have to shop a certain list each week, that could be a problem. My neighbor uses Aldi and likes it. The person who mentioned the high prices shops at Wal Mart. I DO NOT. I cringe at how they treat their employees and try to avoid it all costs. Anyone who shops there is supporting the treatment they give their employees…IMHO. I only go there if I am out of town and have no idea where anything else is located or if I have to get a food and non food item and am in a hurry.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 26th, 2012
1:02 pm

“I cringe at how they treat their employees……..Anyone who shops there is supporting the treatment they give their employees….I only go there if I am out of town and have no idea where anything else is located or if I have to get a food and non food item and am in a hurry”

Bad week for: living by your principles.

The Shadow

October 26th, 2012
1:03 pm

@Who

Better to read “Just had lunch,” than read the War and Peace version of some angry mother who drones on and on about how she has degrees from 2 different SEC schools only to become a stay-at-home-mom.

I see Twitter more like a chat room even though it was designed to be a micro-blogging site. It has potential that goes far beyond that. So much so that Facebook has tried to buy Twitter at least once before.

JD

October 26th, 2012
1:07 pm

MJG – Chaos was talking about twitter, not you. And like your friend, I think Publix is way over priced, especially their meat products.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 26th, 2012
1:21 pm

@the Shadow…and I see it as absolutely identical to said blogger. I think what social media has brought us is the ability to manage our own PR in ways we’ve never seen. FB, Twitter, Blogging, there is no altruism in any of it. Back in the days before the internet we very limited ways to spread positive advertising about ourselves (or dispute negative advertising said about us for that matter), in the attempt to influence how people viewed us. We eventually just learned to NOT care what others thought about us and be comfortable in our own skin, and those whose priorities were let their desire to be liked or thought certain ways guide their actions were considered phonies and shallow. Being cool, smart, generous, kind, witty, etc. were all things that we hopefully learned were not characteristics that were ours to advertise and promote so that people would like us, but rather things that we just did and if people appreciated that, then you would be rewarded with friendships and relationships organically.

Nowadays, I think most people use social medial to manufacture those feelings in as many people as possible –not so that the recipients of our social media adverstising benefits, but so that we benefit from the fact that SO many people are interested in who we are.

To me, the most admirable form of advertising via social media are those who choose NOT to promote themselves in any way because they seem the most secure and will be guided by their hearts…and not by others opinions.

Mayhem

October 26th, 2012
1:22 pm

I shop exclusively at Publix. I can’t stand Kroger. I find the things I buy regularly are better priced at Publix.

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
1:39 pm

@who…I will admit that I do SOMETIMES have to visit Wal Mart. That would be perhaps 6 or so times per year. About the same number as visiting the Mall of GA which is 3 miles from my house.

@JD..I buy my meat at Publix when it is on sale: $7.99 for Rib Eyes is a pretty good price to me. $4.99 for london broil, $2.99 for ground chuck and $2.79 for pork chops or pork ribs ditto. I have two refrigerator/freezers and can stock up on the things on sale. I really only do a big shop once or twice a month. BUT my kids are both out of the house, so that makes a difference and I spend whatever I need to spend on those two shops and do not have a strict budget. We did live on a strict budget for years and that may be the case with those who think Publix is expensive. Again, I do not know,

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 26th, 2012
1:46 pm

@MJG….I don’t mean to pick on you MJG…as a matter of fact, I think you get singled out too much here for bashing…but you have to see how the whole “I feel very strongly about not supporting a company that treats their employees that poorly….unless I’m really really inconvenienced” rings a little hollow. Kind of like someone who decides to go on a 30 day hunger strike to protest something and 15 days into in is caught with a Twix and says “what? I’m REALLY hungry!!!”

The sacrifice, especially in times of inconvience and hardship..is kind of the point, isn’t it? You all seem like a religious group here…isn’t that the point of lent?

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
1:59 pm

@who…I appreciate your comment. When I am in a small town that has no Walgreen’s or Target and the one grocery store is Piggly Wiggly, it is hard for me to buy say a set of markers, paper punch or maybe even file folders. THEN I have to go to Wal Mart. That is what I meant. I am all over the country and once in a while, find this to be true! It is not really about being inconvenienced…I am sorry if that was what it seemed like.

Techmom

October 26th, 2012
2:29 pm

It’s probably a good thing TWG doesn’t really monitor this blog… we’re waaayy off topic!

I try to avoid Walmart but the reality is that there’s a Sam’s Club 2 miles from our house where I do shop so I try not to bash “Walmart” too much since the reality is, I’m contributing to the same company. Plus as much as I hate that they have questionable business practices, a lot of those employees would be without a job if Walmart wasn’t around. Kind of a catch 22 since retail jobs aren’t the ideal jobs to have in any community but every job helps in this kind of economy.

I rarely buy meat from Publix because I do think it’s typically overpriced unless on sale and Sam’s normal prices of meat is usually the sale price at Publix. We bought a stand-up freezer last year though and have started buying meat locally. We put our name on a list for a grass-fed cow about 6 months ago and just picked it up a couple of weeks ago. We decided we couldn’t afford the whole thing, or even half right now, so we asked around and found some friends who wanted to go in with us. It worked out well and at $3/lb, you can’t beat it!

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
2:50 pm

@ Techmom…I saw that the topic was not moving quickly, so I thought I would ask.

We used to belong to Sam’s, but dropped them about 8 years ago. I added my son
when he left for UGA in August. When our renew came in December, they did not want to pro -rate but charge a full year. I went in and told them I had been with them for at least 15 years ( Texas had them before we did in ATL) and they acted like they did not care. So we switched to Costco. My upgraded membership is $110 per year and I recently got a rebate check for $83 this past year. YOU CANNOT BEAT IT in my book. I also love that they have a good price on gas.

Anyone here know about this…I just read it:

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin heeded a request from the White House today — one with political overtones — and announced it will not issue layoff notices to thousands of employees just days before the November presidential election.

Such massive layoffs could have threatened Obama’s standing in the state ( VA) he won in 2008 and is hoping to carry again this November.

Waiting for comments….

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
2:53 pm

@ Techmom…if you are getting a cow, that could be tough, depends on the breed. A steer is usually better. We had black angus and hereford when I lived on the farm and always had a freezer full of beef. All beef is not the same.

Lexi

October 26th, 2012
3:11 pm

Motherjanegoose: Lockheed-Martin is required under the WARN Act to notify its employees of the layoffs that are imminent as a result of the “fiscal cliff” which likely will occur in January. Not good news for the Administration, so it advised such contractors to ignore the law and promised them taxpayer money if those contractors were sued for violations. You can bet the Administration that encouraged the contractors to ignore WARN, reminding them, like they do in Chicago, that their survival depends on keeping the goodwill of the government.

Jane Goodall

October 26th, 2012
3:18 pm

Mother Jane Goose, please do not insert yourself into politics on this blog. Nobody wins and not everyone agrees with you, or me.

Techmom

October 26th, 2012
3:27 pm

Well considering I have no idea what breed I get what I buy meat from the grocery store, I’m ok with this. So far what we’ve had has been great tasting.

I wish we had a Costco close by, when I worked near one, I had a membership there and much prefer their store brands but I work from home and Sam’s is only 2 miles away so even when I only need milk or eggs, I end up there b/c it’s still the closest “grocery” store.

This economy still has me on edge. Things seem to have been slowly improving this year and Nov & Dec will be skewed due to the holidays so once the election and holidays are over, I think we’ll get a real glimpse of whether these improvements are long term or were just a blip in the dismal radar.

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
3:38 pm

@ Jane…politics is NOT my forte, so that is why I asked those here if anyone knew anything about it. I found it interested. TWG is really the only person, IMHO, who can admonish us on topics, as she is in charge. When she is unhappy with a person, or their comment…they will get dropped. So, we will see if that post is a problem or not. I am VERY much aware that not everyone agrees with me. I think the Publix opinion, from someone I know, illustrates that rather well. I love Publix and she does not.

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2012
3:47 pm

“Well considering I have no idea what breed I get what I buy meat from the grocery store, I’m ok with this. So far what we’ve had has been great tasting. ”

Excellent point! When I buy meat at the grocery store, I am not buying meat for several months and each piece could be different from the next. I am not locked into something. A quarter/half of beef, to me, is different. Glad it worked out well! I believe grass fed is generally leaner as the cattle have to walk to be fed. Grain fed is fattier but some cuts of meat are better with the fat. You would have to ask the butcher, as this is something I do not know!

Just terrible...

October 26th, 2012
4:09 pm

Mayhem

Does it make the point any less valid? I stand by my assertion that paying more attention is not tanamount to boosting grades. Poor word choice, spelled correctly or not. Nitpick to validate yourself if you like. You seem to enjoy it.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 26th, 2012
4:47 pm

@MJG…”so that is why I asked those here if anyone knew anything about it”…..now shoot straight with me here MJG…..were you asking objectively to see if it was a factual statement and you would have accepted the answer on it’s face without bias…..or were you asking the question in the hopes to confirm what you already believe about this adminsitration?

FCM

October 26th, 2012
4:47 pm

@ MJG yes the lockheed thing was mentioned by fox a few weeks ago as well. Obama Admin asked them to send it …yes it has to do with what could be a backlash to their man, and that Obama feels sure he can get away from the cliff

Tiffany

October 26th, 2012
5:03 pm

Please give the politics a REST for one day! Anyway- no store is cheaper than Wal Mart- the super ones are the best…their food prices are the lowest anywhere. I like Kroger, too…they have great store brands and good customer service. Publix is always overpriced!

Tiffany

October 26th, 2012
5:09 pm

On the topic…my daughter was required to have a twitter account for a class she was in. She said it added a little interest to the class and the students did enjoy reading each others posts about the class.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

October 26th, 2012
5:09 pm

Here here tiffany….like the constant robo calls and incessant commercials aren’t enough by now!!!