I echo the question about the real academic impact of tools like Twitter ["Twitter Goes to College," usnews.com]. The usage described sounds interesting, relevant, and valid. But I begin to worry about how concepts like Web 2.0 and ubiquitous learning affect real learning. How do we help students focus? Integrate material from this welter of sources and media? Build or even understand some structured framework for knowledge? I get 140 characters and brevity being the soul of wit and so on. But how do we get students to sustain their engagement and to develop complex arguments? There's a line in one of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets that says, "distracted from distraction by distraction." I feel that way on busy days at work, myself, but I think we need to help students identify distractions and then manage them. I hope we aren't making distraction into some kind of norm.
Comment by Peg of MT
Businesses, organizations, and professionals across numerous industries have successfully used Twitter to create business relationships and engage in conversations for work. I think the same can be done with Twitter in a college classroom setting as well by encouraging participation and sharing ideas and news on certain subjects to stay informed.
Comment by Jessica M. of MA
Thanks for the article. It shows just how different the adoption cycle is with Twitter compared to MySpace and Facebook. The average age of a Twitter user is 35. College students and 20-somethings have been slower to adopt its use. Now, older adults are introducing Twitter to young adults. A lot is being made of making Twitter a marketing tool, but for colleges, it really has potential as a communications tool, as your story describes.
Comment by Rick Hardy of CA
You've addressed something here that is important—it just makes a lot of sense to have university/college students Tweet. No need for fancy responders, just Twitter thoughts and share ideas. It's a great way to get the pulse of the class—both local and online, as well as getting those involved that would normally not even attempt conversation. There is a sort of safety in those 140 characters that befriends even the quietest students. And what works for higher education can certainly filter down to K-12. I really enjoy your style, and you certainly nailed the title. Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Ken Royal of CT
This is very interesting, though I am curious to know the academic advantages (maybe even disadvantages) of using social media tools, like Twitter, in the classroom from a research perspective. Does anyone know of any kind of academic research being done out there on this? Or is it still too groundbreaking?
Comment by Eden of MI