Yes, I have that much faith in Twitter.
Though satisfied with previous post, I feel like the topic deserves a wee more discussion. So, I did some digital researching and found another YouTube video that I think y’all will like. It’s about The Twitter Experiment at University of Texas at Dallas, but the instructor and student commentary is applicable to both the college and high school classroom.
Our class discussed the uses of application such as VoiceThread and one point made was that it allows shy or quiet students to have their say. Every class has one or two students that monopolize conversation, with resources like VoiceThread or Twitter, every timid little deer gets the same platform as the big burly bison. When a student, especially those who are teenaged, feel left out of the dicussion, they will retreat into themselves and forget the topic altogether.
Another really cool advantage brought up by one of the U of T @ Dallas students is that all the ideas and research discussed via Twitter are then available for consumption by the masses. An online reader becomes a virtual fly on the wall. An instructor that had to be out of town participated in class when she was states away. An ill student could participate from the er waiting room.
I often question whether requiring student technological participation is viable in a classroom where not everyone’s family has cable television, much less high speed internet. But, in the U of T @Dallas classroom, the students had options. They could bring their own laptops, contribute by cellular phone, or simply write down their comments the old fashioned way–with pen and paper–and the teaching assistant posted them after class.
As a student, I know everyone’s rolled their eyes at someone who starts their comment (read: diatribe) like this: “One time, when I was in the Navy…” or “Me, me, me, me, me, everything must relate to me.” One of the beautiful aspects of using Twitter is that any information that isn’t directly relevent must be weeded out by the author. With just 140 characters to say what you want to say, there’s very little wiggle room for long-winded and self-absorbed contributers. What you get is 140 characters of susinct commentary that doesn’t beat around the bush.
Technology isn’t perfect. There are outages, overloads, and sometimes it just plain doesn’t work. But, as one of the instructors stated in the video, messy doesn’t mean bad. Twitter doesn’t work perfectly all the time, but what does?