Monday, August 12, 2013

A Minor Musing Wherein I Ask Advice About Teaching

I'm getting ready for the upcoming school year. As always, I want students to learn to write more concisely. (Insert your own "Do as I say, not as I do joke here.).

This morning Alan Jacobs, a Baylor University professor, tweeted the following series that made me think about trying to use Twitter as a tool.

Trying to put complex ideas in a series of 140 character sentences requires careful word choices especially if one cannot use "2" for "to" or "b4" for "before." Jacobs illustrates that one can easily create a series of events that can become a paragraph. Certainly dealing with Pascal or reducing a key thinker's main idea to a tweet requires careful thought.

Further, Twitter seems to be growing as primary source of news. Major news sources tweet, post, and broadcast simultaneously. One can certainly gauge reactions to events by following trending hash tags.

On the other hand, most people seem to believe that Twitter is still reserved for status updates: "I'm watching Colin Cowherd on ESPNU, writing a blog post, and petting my cat." That perception will cause a few emails to be sent to the boss's office. Further, unless things have changed dramatically, web filters will block Twitter and getting anything unblocked takes God, Congress, and 47 scissors to cut the mountain of red tape. YouTube became available for teachers at my school last just last year.

So Jacobs makes a great point, but I'm left with questions. Are parents willing to accept their students using Twitter or do parents believe it's the ultimate time waster? Most importantly, is it worth the effort to get Twitter unblocked so that I can use it in the classroom?


M Larson said...

I am actually going to try to have students Tweet a version of the Declaration of Independence. I may try to do a short story tweet.

Kal Lis said...


You might find this article interesting.

M Larson said...

Thanks. I will check it out.