Some look at Twitter as a waste of time, while others see it as a key to professional learning. One tool that can make a difference in how twitter is perceived is a social networking client such as Twitterific or TweetDeck. Twitterific lets viewers see Twitter posts in near-real-time, as well as quickly view saved hash tag searches which can make it easy to find resources recommended by experts. There are Twitterific clients for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. This review will focus on Twitterific 5 for iPad.
Twitterific makes the integration of social media into the classroom a breeze by displaying your Twitter feed(s) into a clean and user-friendly interface. Color code tweets, mentions and direct mentions for easy browsing, navigate the interface with their robust gesture tools, and export feeds out to apps like Instapaper for reading tweets without an internet connection. The app can be downloaded for a cost of $1.99 (as of June, 2013).
Oftentimes, there is a burden placed on instructors to utilize Twitter in the classroom, particularly if they want to keep their account organized and manageable given the large number of students in their classroom. With elegant and lightweight theming in the Twitterific app, instructors can easily stay abreast of the running dialogue in their classes without missing mentions. Ultimately, the goal of the app is to provide organizational structures to improve the accessibility of Twitter.
Target Student Population:
Twitterific can be used by anyone but Twitter may be most effective when used with college-aged students who are not impacted by web filter limits and mobile device restrictions.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Twitterific 5 for iPad users will need a Twitter account and an iPad. They should have a basic understanding of how Twitter works. It will be helpful to know important people in their field who use Twitter, as well as important hashtags.
Type of Material:
Twitterific 5 is a native app for iPad. It is a social networking client for Twitter.
Twitterific can be used as a primary tool for developing a professional learning network. It can also be used as a class back channel or as a way to communicate with students outside of class. Other ideas can be found here: https://sites.google.com/site/twitterinedu/
Users will need a Twitter account and should have a basic understanding of common twitter syntax such as hashtags (#), retweets (RT), and shortened URLs as posts are limited to 140 characters.
Twitter users who have a goal of developing a personal learning network with twitter will need to know or discover important people in their field who are using twitter, as well as important hashtags such as #edtech for "educational technology or "spedchat" for special education chat.
The Apple website states that the app is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. This app requires iOS 5.0 or later and is optimized for iPhone 5.
Evaluation and Observation
The quality of content on Twitterific (Twitter) is determined by the people followed and what they are sharing. It is a good idea to carefully select who you follow and do not be afraid to unfollow someone who ends up not sharing information you are interested in learning about. The content is also impacted by the hashtag and keyword searches used.
Using Twitterific to build a personal learning network can take a long time. Take your time. Be selective about who you follow and carefully notice what hashtags are being used so that you can add those searches to Twitterific.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Twitterific 5 for iPad has a clean interface. Users can quickly scroll through Tweets and interact with them by clicking once on a Tweet. The searches are listed on the left side so it is easy to switch between searches and quickly scan tweets for important content. Sharing a tweet is as easy as clicking on the feather pen icon, adding content and clicking the Tweet button. Users can tweet from multiple accounts and can share images from their iPad library or photos taken within Twitterific.
Although there is a robust Twitterific knowledge base online, it would be great if there were additional help files and shortcut glossaries built directly into the app.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
With stunning themes that allow you to tailor the visual display of the content that is most meaningful to you, Twitterific manages to leverage user engagement by giving people the ability to design their interface to their liking. What a fabulous way to empower students to take part in meaningful conversations over social media and learn more about the use of social media in a professional and academic setting!
Twitterific 5 for iPad is very easy to use. Scrolling through Tweets and interacting with them is easy. Clicking on a person's icon will allow you to read their profile as well as preview their other tweets. A new search can be added at any time and can be saved if the results are meaningful for a while.
The newest version, 5.2, defaults with the left navigation panel hidden. Existing users may want to adjust the settings so they can quickly switch between searches.