Friday, April 17, 2009

My Two Cents on Twitter

....everyone else is doing it!

In my graduate classes the topic of technology in the classroom has presented itself numerous times in the past two weeks. The classes I am taking are educational research and educational psychology courses. Both of these classes are offered as a "hybrid class", meaning that one week we meet online and the next we meet in person. On weeks that we meet online, we depend heavily on discussion boards, Google groups, and Google docs to help guide our classroom.

The technology we use in class is put to great use, but a question was raised last night, "what technology is a added value to the classroom and what is not?" This really got me thinking about what I do in my own classroom. How much of what I use is added value, and how much of what I use is of little to no value and is being added just because? Being tapped into a streamline of people that always have suggestions about new technologies that are available for the classroom, it is very easy to become carried away and go into overkill mode with what you use with your students.

A perfect example of this is Twitter. Let me first say that I use Twitter on a daily basis and lately there has been a large boom of educators promoting Twitter in the classroom. Which is great, I love to see inspired teachers, but...
I have yet to find a valuable use for Twitter in my own classroom.
I believe Twitter can be a valuable tool for communication and Q & A sessions, especially for non classroom time, but I do not think it would be value added to my classroom. I know this will not be popular view among some teachers, but I do not see the need to add an extra step in a classroom discussion. I personally will stick to my normal classroom discussions and chat room discussions in my classes.

I believe there is a point where teachers can give too much to the students too fast, and it becomes hard to focus on what the concept being taught actually is. I think technology should be used as a tool and not the focus of the lesson. I am very cautious of what I introduce to my students and the value it holds.

To sum it up, I love using technology in my classroom and I believe that it compliments my teaching well, but I want to make sure what I am doing is meaningful and not just another toy that causes unnecessary steps. I believe that teachers should continue to explore new technologies and find their 'nitch' for what they use and don't use. Please share your thoughts and insight, I really would love to hear some ideas about this topic especially if you are pro Twitter in school I would LOVE to hear some rationale on this topic.

Mr. McClung


Jarrod Lamshed said...

I think for my class at the moment, it would be a great time waster. That's not to say it won't be useful in the future, but not right now for MY class and MY plans.

Having said that, TWITTER, is a daily use tool for me as teacher, to promote our blog posts and keep in regular contact with intelligent collaborators (such as yrself) around the world. Would I be better off signing up for a class TWITTER account and letting the kids do the promoting?

If we all set up class handles (ie MRMCCLUNGsCLASS, MRLAMSHEDsCLASS, MRCsCLASS, MRWEBBsCLASS) could the kids take control of promoting their own work with a new tool?

I guess we have to also look at safety issues with kids using twitter and following or being followed by adults. I'm not saying it's a tweet killer, but it has to be a consideration.

Wm Chamberlain said...

Jarrod, actually it would be easy to not follow anyone so it could be like a one way conversation. Don't know how interested others would be in a one way conversation like that though.

I am not sure I am ready for my students to have twitter like conversations with students or adults outside of my building. I do thing a school-wide closed-garden system like Edmodo would be a useful tool for students to use on the local level.

NZWaikato said...

I think the way that twitter is structured, with its size limitations that its not going to be taken seriously... maybe in a closely guarded context, where two classes were contacting each other directly but then you'd just Skype. Wouldn't you? I tend to think of it as a place where the number of contacts is more important than the quality of them....