Social Media for Learning: The Twitter Alternative to Online Discussion Forums

Name and Title:

Melissa A. Venable, PhD, Education Writer/Blogger


School, Library, or Organization Name:


Co-Presenter Name(s):

Laura Milligan, Social Media Manager/Editor


Area of the World from Which You Will Present:

United States (Texas and Florida)


Language in Which You Will Present:



Target Audience(s):

Online instructors, high school and college/university; and all interested in social media


Short Session Description (one line):

Social Media for Learning: The Twitter Alternative to Online Discussion Forums


Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

Since June 2011, the presenters have facilitated a weekly live chat via Twitter focused on topics related to online learning. During this time they have tried a lot of approaches, resources, and techniques. While much of the existing online advice about Twitter chats is directed at social media professionals and marketers, this tool offers a new way for educators to engage in and reshape traditional discussions with their students. Twitter can be used for both synchronous and asynchronous communication and is gaining popularity with educators in both higher education and K-12 communities.


The goals of this session include providing attendees with:

  • A brief introduction to Twitter and the live chat format.
  • Examples of Twitter use with students.
  • Benefits and challenges of Twitter as a discussion tool.
  • Resources for getting started with Twitter.
  • Resources for planning and facilitating a live Twitter chat.


Participants will leave the session with a checklist of steps required to set up their own live chat sessions via Twitter, and a list of current chat events for educators at all levels.


Websites / URLs Associated with this Session:



Tags: 2012SLS, Twitter, discussion, high school, higher education, live chat, online

Views: 469

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I am very interested in this presentation, especially in hearing how you go about having students create their twitter accounts.  We have used twitter for a couple of projects in our Middle School (in one, students take on the identity of a musher competing in the Iditarod dog sled race and tweet throughout the race.  Their tweets must include certain grammar elements set forth by the teacher and be creative, engaging, and informative), but were not able to do so this year because of the changes twitter made for account creation.  Do you know if it is still possible to create "dummy" twitter accounts for this type of project?

Hi Melissa - Thanks for your interest in this presentation! Our experience has been primarily with adult students, so we haven't encountered the issues you describe. If you haven't already done so, you may want to browse the Twitter support info with Parent and Teen Tips. There is information about age limits (13 and over), how to protect account information, and how to allow only approved followers to view tweets. Your dog sled Twitter project sounds like a lot of fun and hopefully you'll be able to add it back to your courses soon.



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