Twitter enhances teacher education

La Trobe University pre-service teachers are taking to Twitter to learn skills that will make them better teachers once they enter the classroom. 

Dr Narelle Lemon, Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education has researched ways for her Graduate Diploma of Education (Primary) students to explore and extend their knowledge of arts education through their use of social media.

Over a three year period 550 La Trobe pre-service teachers logged into Twitter and created online galleries to share artwork and reflect on their learning.

'As the group created the online galleries each individual was encouraged, through the maximum 140 character construction of a tweet, to carefully think about the content they could share associated to their learning experiences.'

Dr Lemon said that her students were training to become generalist primary school teachers capable of reflecting critically on the nature of their own learning, that of their peers and their future students.

'This is a highly desirable skill in the environments they will work in when they enter the workforce.

'By working in the space of social media, they learnt how to access information and resources globally for professional application.

'Working this way also allows pre-service teachers to not feel isolated and to be always in touch with the latest curriculum ideas. 

'Professional Twitter use also ensures teachers can network no matter where they are physically located, which is a great asset for rural and regional educators.  This is a new way of working and so exciting in the faced paced world of learning and teaching.'

An online learning community

Dr Lemon said that her visual arts students regularly tweeted together, forming an online community in which they could discuss shared activities, access new information and provide each other with advice.

'Together we created a safe and nurturing environment in which everyone could learn from each other. Each individual had different strengths which contributed to the group moving forward in their learning.'

Dr Lemon said a 2013 survey of 155 students found that 87 per cent agreed Twitter supported their communication and ability to express, learn and share work, ideas and experiences.

To view last year's gallery visit Twitter.com and search for #visart13. To find out more about Dr Lemon's research visit her blog or her online La Trobe University profile.

ENDS

Media enquiries

Dr Narelle Lemon, Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education, T 03 9479 3863 E n.lemon@latrobe.edu.au

Tom O'Callaghan, Media Assistant T 03 5444 7415, M 0408 900 469

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