Whilst I understand the reasons behind this, and could even see the benefits, I can't help but think that this doesn't help the students or teachers in the long term.
Participation in discussions is part and parcel of life, be it at the bar or with a client. The whole point of school is to set kids up to enter the real world; if you need to make a point in a business meeting or social conversation it is no use posting it on Twitter, you need to be able to add it to the discussion in a proper manner. I realize that there are such things as web meetings and forums (hah), but a lot of important business and social interaction is still done face to face.
I also feel that this is a lazy way out of teaching a class. Rather than sit back and let the loud talk and the quiet become passive observers, the teacher's job during debate is to draw out the quiet and restrain the loud, to give balance and to direct. Posting via computer addresses the symptom, not the cause of lack of student interaction.
And before you go on about how hard it is to teach etc. I know. I really do. There are several teachers in my family, and I myself have instructed groups of kids in various outdoor activities. It is a very hard job to do well, but that is no reason to take shortcuts which will ultimately reduce the quality of the students education.
So whilst this is a good idea, I think it should only ever be used as an aid to normal class debate, not a replacement for it.
Edited by GingerJohn - 5/14/11 at 12:19am