Results of our innovative experience

First of all, the thinking moves used by the students when writing their tweets were analysed. All the tweets about the subjects covered in the study were reviewed to identify the thinking moves set in motion (cf. Figure 7.2).

Figure 7.2 shows the average use by the students for every thinking move on Twitter. The moves with the highest frequency of use were:

  • 1. Capturing the heart and forming conclusions;
  • 2. Building explanations and interpretations;
  • 3. Wondering and asking questions;
  • 4. Reasoning with evidence.

Resorting to the “Headlines” thinking routine and using Twitter, the students were able to make their thinking visible and to share their thoughts through complex processes of active, autonomous, and collaborative learning (Labrador & Andreu, 2008). The students were able to make descriptions, draw conclusions, ask questions, establish connections, and reason with evidence in the subjects they worked on, understanding while internalising concepts (Ritchhart et al., 2014). In this way, they were able to engage in deeper thinking and systematise

■ Observing and describing ■ Building explanations ■ Reasoning with evidence

| Making connections ■ Different viewpoints ■ Capture the heart

Wondering and asking questions | Uncovering complexity

FIGURE 7.2 Average of thinking movements in the tweets emitted by the students

meaningful learning strategies (García, Canas, & Pinedo, 2017; Pinedo, Canas, & Garcia-Martin, 2017).

Secondly, the impact of Twitter was analysed on the performance of students of Education. To this end, a Pearson correlation was established in order to find significant relationships between the number of tweets posted, exam grades, and final course grades. All relationships were found to be direct and significant (cf. Table 7.1). A correlation was found between student grades and the use of Twitter: the higher the number of tweets, the higher the grade. Considering that the use of Twitter after face-to-face classes was not mandatory, the students who made their thinking visible and shared their thinking and learning processes on this social network were more successful in passing the tests of the subject in question. This suggests that the use of active methods like the Visible Thinking approach (Ritchhart et al., 2014) and social media for educational purposes (Trujillo, Aznar, & Caceres, 2015) may improve the learning outcomes and promote of student’s participation (Labrador & Andreu, 2008).

On the one hand, this improvement may be related to the effect of thinking routines like “Headlines,” as they facilitate a deeper understanding of the

TABLE 7.1 Correlations, means, and standard deviations of study variables











Test score





Final score






** p<0.01

contents. On the other hand, it may have to do with the culture of participation that is implicit in the use of social media in the classroom (Erstad, 2015). Social media encourage students to share their learning, but also to benefit from the learning shared by their peers (Cabero et al., 2013). In this way, it is possible to develop a culture of thinking beyond the classroom, in a collaborative virtual environment (Ausin et al., 2018), strengthening ties and increasing commitment to one’s own learning and that of one’s peers (Ebner, Lienhardt, Kohs, & Meyer, 2010).

Final considerations

This research has shown that the educational use of Twitter can promote the culture of thinking in higher education. The data analysed indicates that this approach is adequate for the development of the learning skills required to succeed in the knowledge society, in particular, critical thinking and the competence of learning to learn.

Interventions like the ones in this study are viable, for they can be replicated in any university programme or field of knowledge in higher education. Also, they are flexible in that they do not require too many resources: every student has a mobile device on which to use Twitter or other social media. Interventions like these need to be promoted and further studied, as they seem to encourage students to acquire the habit and the disposition to resort to more critical thinking when reading, browsing the news, or screening content in social media.

The education system must adapt to the new concept of learning imposed by the information and communication society (Aguerrondo, 2009). The Internet is a reality established in our social environment that provides us with numerous possibilities of didactic-pedagogical integration in our educational system (Pinedo, et al., 2018; Trujillo et al., 2015). In this sense, ICT “must be oriented towards truly formative purposes, both for the student and for the teacher” (Lozano, 2011, p. 46). In this way, on the educational level, we must commit to the technologies of learning and knowledge. “What is proposed is to substitute learning ‘of’ technology for learning ‘with’ technology, an approach that is totally oriented towards the development of fundamental competencies such as learning to learn” (Lozano, 2011, p. 46). Thus, the ICT become an essential tool for promoting student thinking and, therefore, learning. More specifically, as in the experience presented above, ICT make it possible to promote, document, make visible, and evaluate the students’ thinking skills.

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