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Twitter, Engage!

Submitted by Meditec on Sat, 04/20/2013 - 01:45
Twitter, Engage

You thought Twitter and the other social networking services were a complete distraction to serious students trying to jumpstart a successful career via a solid education? Well, think again. The education scene has rapidly changed in the past eight or so years, undergoing what many educators never expected, a sea change in the way instruction is delivered and in the way students interact with one another and with their teachers. And front, center, and back of this extraordinary paradigm shift is a little bird with a big, really big, following (over 200 million users worldwide at latest count, and multiplying fast): Twitter. Who hasn’t heard of Twitter? That circa-2006 microblogging invention that allows you just 140 characters per “tweet” (“send” to the uninitiated) but enables you to reach hundreds of thousands, even millions, of followers (provided you’ve got the teen charm of Justin Bieber or the gams of Lady Gaga) in one go. True, much blather doth fly in Twitterdom, but in the chatter much learning happens as well—in fact, much more than one might expect from a social media medium. A recent study, “Twitteracy: Tweeting is a New Literary Practice,” from Michigan State University discovered that college students who tweet as part of their study habits are more into their lessons, are more engaged with their teachers and other students, and on average get higher grades than their non-tweeting counterparts. The study author, Christine Greenhow, assistant professor of education at Michigan State University, pointed out that tweeting has become a new literary practice, one which is changing the manner a student experiences what he (or she) reads and writes. Greenhow explained that students get more engaged because tweeting feels authentic to them that using it as part of their instruction is not just learning for the sake of learning, but something real. With Twitter usage among American teens doubling in the last two years, and with them firing off 175 million tweets a day, Greenhow concluded that Twitter has indeed changed the way students and the general population communicate today. The same applies to other new forms of Internet-centered social networking apps that started out as social communication platforms, such as Facebook, but quickly evolved into highly effective education tools.  The backbone of online education is built on the same principle and the same technology. And it isn’t just education that’s benefitting from Twitter usage. Today, businesses—from real estate to insurance to medical transcription—are finding it easier, faster, and more productive to engage prospective clients, current customers, and business associates via Twitter and the other social media apps than with the older ways of business engagement. Twitter, it seems, is the way to career success in a future that’s rapidly being built on social networking and online education. And Meditec, a proponent of online education with its many fully online programs, including courses in medical transcription and medical coding, will be an important part of that future.