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 Australia. "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."