Reflections on Twitter and Blogging in the Classroom

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On Twitter

Here I am at the end of the day, doing my first post for Module 2. One of the activities in Module 2 is an optional joining of Twitter. I have always resisted even looking at twitter or thinking about getting an account for a couple of reasons:

  1. I have never been able to make sense of the so-called conversations on twitter. To me they are presented in a one-sided format, that makes it difficult to read or to follow.
  2. I assume that your average person who tweets is going to do so about pointless things just because he or she can; tweeting for tweeting’s sake. 1It’s as though the cyber world is a really big hole that people feel the need to fill with information. I guess that is what Web 2 is. Give someone a twitter and they will tweet. What about the real world—is it really a desert?
  3. I don’t like the idea that someone who is washing their left foot would feel the need to share the fact with the rest of the world by a quick 140-character message. This is a frivolous example, and hopefully is not something someone would tweet about.
  4. I don’t see why we need such up-to-date information about random, pointless, things (see assumption above). I am sure that there are many really informative tweets shooting around the web; at least I hope there are. Up to date information that I would love to access would tell me when my train is late, and when it will get to my station.

However, I think I might give it a go, and see what all the fuss is about. I don’t think I’ll use it much. I am stumped as to how I would use it in the classroom; I can imagine disciplining a student by tweeting to them: ‘Those symbols are not appropriate at this school. Please see me after class.’

On Blogs in the Classroom

My initial thoughts about using blogs in the classroom are met with a bit of curiosity. I think that it depends on the students, and how the teacher presents it. I am not sure how useful it would be, other than as some form of diary or journal, or as something to learn how to do in itself. Maybe that’s all blogs are good for.

I can see that as a diary or journal—which is essentially what a blog is, right?—blogs could have some use in most subjects, especially English or Visual Arts, or any of the other subjects where some long project is undertaken and reflected on.

I think that blogs would be useful also in the sharing of information (not plagiarism), and as a tool to facilitate discussion—online and off. I cannot help suspecting that students wouldn’t be able to help copying others’ work, so perhaps blog content should not be used for assessment. I also would hope that students and teacher discuss their blogging and commenting in class so that the skill of debating and getting across one’s idea is nurtured.

So, I think that with the appropriate guidelines and directions from the teacher, students could benefit from blogging, as long as it is backed up in the classroom.

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