Sunday, December 23, 2012

Unconvinced about Twitter

I love technology… but I fear technology as well.

 Let me explain. Since I started inserting technology into my class, it always made it there in one of two ways: Either something I was teaching called for some technological way to make it more appealing, or I contemplated a technology and thought how I could use it in my class. Whereas the latter is an imperfect system, the results have been quite nice.

But what I hope to never do is take a technology tool and place it into my classroom solely because it exists. If I don’t feel something carries with it real educational benefits, I will not use it.

Which leads me to Twitter. I understand the benefits of Twitter for creating a professional network (although I don’t understand how anyone has the time to be an active participant, nor how to weed things down to a useful but non-overwhelming level of information), but I’ve thought long and hard and I have not thought of a sound reason why Twitter should enter my classroom.

Trust me: I’m not against social networking. Long ago I argued that teachers and administrators should embrace it rather than fight against it. Those who disagreed were fighting an insurmountable battle and were impeding progress. No, I’m not a fan of Twitter for other reasons.

To name a few: Everyone says Twitter teaches students how to be concise. I teach middle schoolers. I yearn to elicit more from them, not less. And generally speaking, one of their versions of “concise” is to use the most bastardized version of the English language imaginable. Furthermore, sites like Twitter can feed an ego just a little too much. It’s not uncommon for someone to post on this and similar sites countless pieces of information about their activities and feelings. It creates an unhealthy level of self-importance; again, this is not something I wish to encourage. Finally, I have yet to find an advantage of microblogging over regular old blogging. Blogs are something for which I see serious educational potential. Until someone could decisively show me the advantage of microblogging in my classroom, I’m staying away.

Nevertheless, I want you to convince me otherwise. Maybe I’m way off. Obviously many people think so. Please, tell me why would I choose to place microblogging in my classroom experience!

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