TweetDeck is a desktop Twitter browser that allows you to track multiple types of real-time microblogging content in one window.
TweetDeck is an excellent tool for conducting real-time searches. Many Twitter users focus on single topic issues. Therefore, a professor or student can "follow" those who tweet about issues related to their research interests.
Target Student Population:
Graduate students in a professional field would be a good target population for using TweetDeck. These students should be able to see how real-time searches can benefit their professional work.
Students in high school through university level could use TweetDeck to organize their tweets, perhaps sorting educational tweets versus recreational ones.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Users will need to have a basic understanding of microblogging and Twitter.
Type of Material:
TweetDeck is a stand-alone program that is used to create and follow microblogging.
Instructor can have students use TweetDeck to search for key terms in other users' posts. When they find a tweet related to their research interests, they can look at the user's profile to see if they would get more real-time search information by "following" this person. If so, they can "follow" the person and see all of the person's feeds. This may provide additional information that a search term wasn't picking up on its own.
Instructors could use this tool to achieve other goals, like organizing tweets from various classes.
Users must download TweetDeck. TweetDeck is based on Adobe Air so users must download and install Adobe Air as part of the installation process. A Twitter account is advisable.
Evaluation and Observation
The quality of the content found using TweetDeck varies. However, the user has some control over this because he or she can do some checking and only "follow" people with strong academic records, while "unfollowing" those with unreliable information.
This is a strong tool, easy to use and very helpful, particularly for new Twitter users.
While some have produced lists of educators who should be "followed." It's difficult to know whether these teachers will stay focused on professional issues or talk about their personal lives. For educational purposes, we prefer to follow only those who stay on message.
Instructors using Twitter in classes might find that TweetDeck can be all-consuming.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
TweetDeck has great promise as a real-time search engine. Users can have multiple searches running, and can quickly scan the status of each search all in one window.
The tool is only as strong as the instructor's use of it.
Scrolling left and right can be tedious as the user can only use the scroll bar for navigating.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
TweetDeck is easy to use. Without a lot of effort, a user can set up a window with multiple search terms and keep track of updates by scrolling left, right, up and down. The window will also show when people reply to your tweets.It is compatible with a Mac or PC.
The icons used to select various features are small and sometimes difficult to figure out. They do have roll-over text which is helpful.