Nowadays almost everybody carries on their pocket at least one smart device that enables them accessing information and communicating with people through different means such as social media ,which is the most dominant, and blogs. Even though Social media and blogs have become a vital part of people’s daily life worldwide, unfortunately, it is still ignored to some extent in educational contexts. Newcastle University stood out as an exception allowing students to use twitter and blogs in some modules like The Future of Learning module (EDU8213). This paper lays out the positives and interesting aspects of my experience in using twitter and blogs in EDU8213 module which, in fact, are many. It also highlights two negatives.
Opening the class on twitter and blogging has enhanced my learning, I found it advantageous in various ways. First of all, it is a good platform to keep the notes of the whole class and others for long. I was frequently going back to the hashtag used for this module and blogs to read my own and others’ notes and I always find information I am looking for. Second, both boost collaboration among students, lecturers (Prof. Mitra and Dr. Stanfield), people and organizations around the world interested in the future of learning. Everyone shares interesting tweets, videos, blogs and other materials related to the topic which as a result has widened my understanding about the topic. This collaboration encourages me and others to learn from one another leading to collaborative thinking which is known for its strong positive effects on students’ learning. Third, twitter and blogs give me the opportunity to know people ,such as teachers, students, schools’ owners and others, and organizations ,such as schools and institutions, from different parts of the world interested in education in general and in the future of learning in specific. This leads to fruitful discussions about the topic and valuable feedback from different people. Forth, as an international student, my conception of diversity and globalization has become clearer through dealing with people from different backgrounds. Consequently, my appreciation to others’ perspectives and opinions has risen as well. Fifth, both are beneficial in fostering my communication, negotiation and persuasion skills. Beside all the above points, I find it very interesting when people favorite, retweet my tweets or leave a comment on my blog. It is also interesting when people whom I do not know follow me or praise my opinions and thoughts. Regarding the negative side, using twitter during classes can be distractive and affects negatively human interaction. Sometimes I find myself tweeting and not concentrating with what is being discussed in the class. Also, word limit is annoying as I had many times to express myself in more than one tweet.
In Conclusion, it cannot be denied that twitter and blogs have become inseparable part of almost every one’s life. Therefore, I cannot see the point in totally neglecting or banning them in most of the schools. In my point of view, they should be used as an extra element in teaching and learning process. It helps students widening their understanding of different topics, interacting with others, keeping their notes for a long time. In general twitter and blogs are very interactive, beneficial forums that all stakeholders of education should benefit from. I believe that their advantages outweigh their disadvantages.