Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Two Cents on Twitter....

....everyone else is doing it!

In my graduate classes the topic of technology in the classroom has presented itself numerous times in the past two weeks. The classes I am taking are educational research and educational psychology courses. Both of these classes are offered as a "hybrid class", meaning that one week we meet online and the next we meet in person. On weeks that we meet online, we depend heavily on discussion boards, Google groups, and Google docs to help guide our classroom.

The technology we use in class is put to great use, but a question was raised last night, "what technology is a added value to the classroom and what is not?" This really got me thinking about what I do in my own classroom. How much of what I use is added value, and how much of what I use is of little to no value and is being added just because? Being tapped into a streamline of people that always have suggestions about new technologies that are available for the classroom, it is very easy to become carried away and go into overkill mode with what you use with your students.

A perfect example of this is Twitter. Let me first say that I use Twitter on a daily basis and lately there has been a large boom of educators promoting Twitter in the classroom. Which is great, I love to see inspired teachers, but...
I have yet to find a valuable use for Twitter in my own classroom.
I believe Twitter can be a valuable tool for communication and Q & A sessions, especially for non classroom time, but I do not think it would be value added to my classroom. I know this will not be popular view among some teachers, but I do not see the need to add an extra step in a classroom discussion. I personally will stick to my normal classroom discussions and chat room discussions in my classes.

I believe there is a point where teachers can give too much to the students too fast, and it becomes hard to focus on what the concept being taught actually is. I think technology should be used as a tool and not the focus of the lesson. I am very cautious of what I introduce to my students and the value it holds.

To sum it up, I love using technology in my classroom and I believe that it compliments my teaching well, but I want to make sure what I am doing is meaningful and not just another toy that causes unnecessary steps. I believe that teachers should continue to explore new technologies and find their 'nitch' for what they use and don't use. Please share your thoughts and insight, I really would love to hear some ideas about this topic especially if you are pro Twitter in school I would LOVE to hear some rationale on this topic.

Mr. McClung


Wm Chamberlain said...

Dude, haven't you been listening to me? I have always said that I want to use the best tool for the job, not just use tech tools. While you may not see a classroom benefit for your students, that doesn't mean it isn't useful for you.

I have some ideas about using edmodo school wide next year. I wouldn't implement it if I couldn't find value in it.

I don't use twitter with my students either, but that doesn't mean I won't. If I see it being a useful tool in my class, you know I will introduce it to my students.

Barb Radisavljevic said...

I agree with you 100%. Tools should be used when they are the best tool to use to accomplish a task, not for their own sake. At some point, it will be important for students to learn how to use Twitter if they don't learn on their own, but that doesn't mean they need to learn it in your class.

jkmcclung said...

@chamberlain sorry once again, came off wrong, let me clarify. I just don't understand what all the buzz around twitter being the ed tool is all about. That is partially why I posted this because I wanted to hear from people that do support it....and I understand what you do in your class has value (not saying it doesn't), this was never meant to be directed at you, I just knew you would be the first to reply me back.

@barb, I think it is a great tool to learn how to use I haven't found a purpose that this tool (twitter) can fix.

jarrod.lamshed said...

Nice post. I think for my class at the moment, it would be a great time waster. That's not to say it won't be useful in the future, but not right now for MY class and MY plans.

Having said that, TWITTER, is a daily use tool for me as teacher, to promote our blog posts and keep in regular contact with intelligent collaborators (such as yrself) around the world. Would I be better off signing up for a class TWITTER account and letting the kids do the promoting?

If we all set up class handles (ie MRMCCLUNGsCLASS, MRLAMSHEDsCLASS, MRCsCLASS, MRWEBBsCLASS) could the kids take control of promoting their own work with a new tool?

Rambling thoughts.

Nicki said...

Just ignonre Mr. C, he is very grouchy.....he is actually having to teach!

Louisa Guest said...

Totally agree with you Mr McC. Mine have only met blogs this year - cant see what I would use Tweets for with them (yet) Am always open to the still trying to get my head around moodle - why is it so good???