Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Trouble with Twitter

Note that one comment on this article notes that tweets have merely integrated the 30-second attention span pushed by the media over the last decade. thanks to KJ for recommending this article. 

I worry that microblogging cheats my students out of their trump card: a mindful attention to the subject in front of them, so that they can capture its sights and sounds, its smells and tactile qualities, to share with readers. How can Twittering stories from laptops and phones possibly replace the attentive journalist who tucks a digital recorder artfully under a notepad, pencil behind one ear, and gives full attention to the subject at hand?

Ah, but what if you could ask students to text a CMS their comments while reading novels or primary sources? e.g., for someone reading Dostoevsky, "242 Does FD agree with Grnd Inqustor on freedom?" Or for a U.S. history class, "What does Fed 10 mean by 'latest causes of faction'?"
Those are great ideas, Sherm!
The best kind of twitter use I've seen suggested is similar to Sherman's: a way of sending questions during lecture (since most of them have cell phones....). But that requires that the instructor pay attention to the feed....

I'm considering admitting that I have a twitter account (no real reason, just needed to be able to get in and search) so they can send me messages that way, as well as email. I'm also making them email me as their first homework.
Does this work better than setting up ICQ or something similar? Would you set up a separate Twitter account for student access? Just curious . . .
And, are you having them email you "in" or "out" of the ANGEL CMS? I've gone to "in" the ANGEL CMS so I don't have issues with their not using subject lines or clearly identifying which "Tom" they are or seeing some more than interesting email identities on hotmail and yahoo mail. It also helps me keep better track of all the email coming in.
I do my bulk emails through ANGEL, so a lot of the email they send me comes back that way, but I also give them my email address, so some of it comes that way.

Usually, they're pretty good about identifying themselves: they seem to think that I've got so many students that I'd never know them unless they identify by name and section.

I wasn't really planning to use my Twitter account for personal stuff -- just messing around a bit -- so if I do use it for them (I'm still debating, an hour before World history), it won't be mixing business and pleasure. If I'd already set up a personal feed that I wanted to use personally, yeah, I'd set up a new one.
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