Bringing Twitter into the Classroom: A Low Budget Approach

Okay, so I may be a bit biased in my interest for Twitter, because admittedly, I do enjoy my social networking. I enjoy it enough to know that FB is down for this particular semester, but I chose to keep my Twitter afloat because, I mean really, how much trouble can one get into in under 144 characters? Well, I don’t really want to learn the answer to that. However, thanks to a bright colleague of mine, I found a blog for a fellow educator, whom decided to take his lesson plans into his own hands, and likely his budget, to design an engaging activity/assignment for his students.

If you follow the link I have provided here, it will take you to Jeremy’s blog, where not only will you find some insightful educational perspectives, but a crazy idea of utilizing social networking as a classroom tool. No doubt, this idea has to sell to most educators in the sense that the cost of resources is so very low, one can’t afford to just neglect a closer look. However, because this idea is not necessarily an administration’s first choice, possibly frowned upon by some parents, and just plain new to our repertoire, the thought of designing anything curricular using sights like Twitter or Facebook may have some of us shuddering.

Yet, I have to wonder, aren’t we in this class for a reason? Don’t we want multimedia programs and social media sites to be a part of our classrooms, in order to better facilitate the future of our students, and our media literate lives in general? Obviously, balancing what best suits students and what doesn’t isn’t always spelled out for us, and we sometimes have to tweak lesson plans to make certain idealistic aspects of our expectations made clearer to ourselves. We certainly do not want to go in blindly, assuming that the most novel approaches to teaching are the best, but working with the system we have seems only naturally intelligent, and Jeremy’s assignment does precisely this. He utilizes what Halavais refers to as a “giant mass” of information. But, in essence, it is our jobs to make sense of these giant masses and “tame” them as he suggests. I think Jeremy did a pretty decent job of “taming” a pilot activity for his classroom. Let’s just hope what calls for our taming, in this next century, doesn’t tame our senses as well. I like Jeremy’s approach, but we have to remember that our students are not necessarily our lab rats. Although, I’m certain sometimes as instructors, feeling like a mad scientist isn’t unfamiliar :/