From classroom to tweet?

Can ‘real life situations’ be recreated in social media?

When I ran the exam preparation buffet a couple of weeks ago, the greatest ‘take away’ for the students seemed to have been peer support and getting advice from students who were from higher years. For instance the 2nd year student providing crucial tips on institute specific exam organisation to 1st year students.

From Classroom to Tweet

In my other institution I did not have the chance to bring students from across the years together. So I was wondering, if I could recreate this positive effect via social media—as third space, so to speak. I choose Twitter as tool because it is easy to use, sign up, and integrates easily into PowerPoint or VLEs. (Edit 2021: this exercise also supports the development of meta-cognitive skills in students as they are encouraged to reflect about what has helped their own learning).

Moving the physical classroom space into the virtual realm featured more hurdles than anticipated. For one: fewer students than expected had Twitter accounts, neither have the colleagues I planned on involving. Some of the students who already had Twitter accounts, suddenly realised the publicity of their accounts. There seemed to have been an illusion of privacy, which necessitated a brief on ‘social media 101’.

However, not all was bad in the Twitterverse. Some of the students who saw Twitter in action, realised how helpful it could be for their studies and career development. All students were happy to use the ‘real life’ (aka yellow sticky notes) substitute to share their tips with other students, and permitted me to tweet on their behalf, and low and behold I had a couple of students tweeting during the session. Last but not least I used Twitter as incentive to finally try out Storify.

The venture will continue next semester. The answer to my initial question so far: potentially.


  1. Sounds interesting. Did you let students retweet/like/+1 on the post-its (basically mark the ones they liked)? Have you considered Google+ with its circles as a more closed off alternative for students to share among each other?

    Best wishes,


    1. Hi Almut,

      why did I not think of that?! I posted the post-it comments on Twitter as they handed them to me. I was so focussed on introducing the ‘how does Twitter-feed and hashtag search work’, that I completely forgot to re-link these aspects with the post-its.

      I was thinking about Google+ but have not yet tried it in class. Do you have experience using it in teaching? I currently struggle to find a way of including all my students considering their vast differences in ICT literacy.

      Best wishes,


      1. No, I don’t have any experience with that. My teaching is very conservative: Working through model solutions of the homework at the whiteboard. And sometimes I even wish back for blackboard and chalk …


  2. Nathalie,
    Thanks for a great post, and I wish you all the best with your continuing endeavours to use social media in the classroom next semester. I did want to ask whether and how you had managed to integrate Twitter into PowerPoint. I used to use the PowerPoint Twitter tools developed by Timo Elliott ( but they don’t appear to work at the moment as Twitter has changed the way it handles RSS feeds. Poll Everywhere does integrate with Twitter but I’m interested in tickers and Twitter clouds rather than polling (I have EVS already for that). I have used a desktop client like Twhirl in the past, but it can be fiddly to get everything just right when working with a projector screen using a different resolution from the computer. Anyway, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
    Best wishes,


    1. Chris, apologies for the late reply I went offline for a whole week. So far, and as you know I only began with Tweeting in class, I switch screens because I haven’t found the perfect Twitter app for powerpoint, yet. The same reason as yours I want the ticker to have an ongoing side-conversation. I tried poll everywhere but we do have clickers and I find they work better. Again, I am not keen on simply voting, although for some topics it works well as an icebreaker.
      I am moving more and more to Prezi and have not yet explored how or if I can integrate Twitter there. Will definitely keep posting about the ventures.
      Hope you enjoyed the Holidays and Happy New Year!


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