Microblogging site Twitter has equipped 21st century writers with the necessary skills, including tough self-editing, to thrive in the face of emerging technologies, according to a recent study.
To test if there was any value in introducing Twitter to the creative writing classroom, Josie Barnard of Middlesex University conducted an experiment to determine whether the microblogging website can help students develop creative writing skills in the classroom and in what way.
“The learning experiences were exciting to see. The exercises helped students develop a new rigour. Tough self-editing is needed to pare a narrative right back. The exercises also helped with writer’s block, providing fresh stimulation that aided students’ creativity,” Barnard said.
According to the researcher, the 21st century brings new challenges for aspiring writers.
“They must become multimodal writers, that is, flexible enough in their creative practice to be able to move between different types of writing for different modes of dissemination often within small time frames. The Twitter exercises helped the students begin to develop these skills,” she added.
As part of the experiment, two BA creative writing classes were asked to complete exercises as well as an evaluation sheet between November 2012 and March 2013, said the study published recently in the journal New Writing.
Students were invited to tweet about a set topics and given a hashtag to embed within tweets. Storify was used to collate the tweets and projected on a smart board where the micro narratives were arranged accordingly.
In the class, students still considered and submitted work in conventional formats but moved between different forms of writing.
Working together as a group inspired confidence in editing the work of others highlighting the importance of community on what was once considered an isolated pastime. The majority of participants in the study claimed that Twitter helped meet all the learning objectives stipulated in the assessment forms.