How Twitter could help improve dental education

According to research from Australia, Twitter could be a helpful tool in dental education. — AFP Relaxnews

Twitter could be a helpful learning tool in dental education, according to research from Australia.

Could social networks offer a means of improving dental education? An analysis of seven studies, published in the Journal Of Dental Education, highlights the advantages of using Twitter as an educational tool.

“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 Australia.

A tried and tested network

With Twitter, the interface is fun and there are a variety of ways of sharing and discussing information, the study reports. With short-form messages, 280 characters, photos, videos and URLs, there are multiple ways to share information on the platform.

“All of these features make Twitter one of the most effective social networks for active learning,” the study explains.

Twitter has already been tested as a means of sharing scientific content. In fact, in one study, researchers used Twitter to publish links of Cochrane reviews. They found that tweeting raised the number of visits to the reviews.

When it comes to dental education, the researchers highlight that the anonymous nature of asking questions on Twitter can help students speak out without having to worry about what their peers might think. Twitter can also help make lessons more engaging for students.

No miracle solution

“Our findings supported the potential for Twitter as a useful learning tool in dental education, but there were some barriers,” explains Omar Kujan. Indeed, the very fact of using social media could carry a risk of breaching confidentiality and professionalism requirements, for example.

Risks also arise from false information being propagated on the network. “Future research would help in refining Twitter’s use and improve its efficacy in dental education,” the researcher concludes. – AFP Relaxnews

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