Twitter a useful learning tool in dental education, finds study
Twitter is a free social network that enables registered users to read, share, and post microblogs and short message which are called Tweets. One can also upload pictures and videos and share links for external sites.
The rapid growth of social media in recent years has highlighted uses beyond their original purposes, particularly in education. Twitter is a free, open access social network with high potential to enhance interactive learning. The use of Twitter in dental education has been far less investigated; therefore, the objective of this systematic review is to explore the current uses and to examine the impact of Twitter on dental education, and to analyze and predict potential models of Twitter for future application in dental training, education, and teaching.
An analysis of published studies indicates that Twitter may be a useful learning tool in dental education.
The analysis, which is published in the Journal of Dental Education, included 7 studies. Studies indicated that the real-time question and answer sessions using Twitter work well in an educational setting. Also, the semi-anonymous interactions on Twitter can be beneficial for students unwilling to speak in front of their peers. Twitter can also make lectures more engaging, and it can be used to ask questions that assess student comprehension.
The investigators noted that there are significant barriers to Twitter's use in dental education, however, including privacy and concerns about professionalism.
"We live in a dynamic world where the use of social media such as Twitter has become part of our daily life. It is amazing that many dentists and dental students from all over the world use Twitter as a live platform in discussing clinical cases and sharing news, knowledge, and experiences," said senior author Omar Kujan, DDS, PhD, of The University of Western Australiaþ. "Our study is the first to collate the current evidence regarding the use of Twitter in dental education. Our findings supported the potential for Twitter as a useful learning tool in dental education, but there were some barriers. Future research would help in refining Twitter's use and improve its efficacy in dental education."