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[NYTimes] Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media

post #1 of 5
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Quote:
Now, Erin Olson, an English teacher in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, is among a small but growing cadre of educators trying to exploit Twitter-like technology to enhance classroom discussion. Last Friday, as some of her 11th graders read aloud from a poem called “To the Lady,†which ponders why bystanders do not intervene to stop injustice, others kept up a running commentary on their laptops.
Source

A good read and I should add that it is also an interesting concept of using social media.
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post #2 of 5
Good Article. I know it takes me most of the year in school to get to know everyone in my class and get comfortable speaking out loud, with social media though I expand the number of people I talk to. If used correctly this is an effective method to promote more participation.
    
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post #3 of 5
I wish my teachers would do something like this, I'm the only person who uses my laptop that the government gave me in english class, I get thousands of words written down that I just cbb to do in normal writing.

As it is laptops are only compulsory for usage in physics classes because in general they are useless and teachers aren't very good at utilising them.
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post #4 of 5
thats one way to get bored of twitter anyway......
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post #5 of 5
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
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