Outside of Etown, Twitter is becoming more popular than ever on college campuses. Students frequently shout out shameless self-promotion asking friends to “follow” them on Twitter. Teachers are now asking the same to their students. This raises a popular question, does twitter belong in the educational system? And even more importantly, should we teach students how to tweet?
Professors Dr. Kelly Pontiatowski and Dr. Kristen Johnson are advocates of using twitter in the classroom. Dr. Johnson uses Twitter to teach her students a skill for broadcasting, being able to sum your thoughts up into as little words as possible. After giving her students all of the Twitter basics, she has them choose an event on campus and live-tweet it, or on the spot reporting. “Twitter teaches our students how to use short and simple sentences,” Dr. Johnson says.
@EtownCollege has 1,214 followers, @CarlJStrikwerda has 154 followers, and @Etownian has 370 followers. These are just a few of the college’s popular Twitter accounts we tweet from. There of course are some less popular accounts such as @NicoleLorber 211 with only two followers and @AustinWhitlock2 who has 38 followers. These accounts were both created for Communications 211, “Writing Across the Media” that uses Twitter to engage their students.
In this class, taught by Dr. Pontiatowski, students use Twitter to communicate outside of the classroom. They express their opinions and agree with other student’s opinions by retweeting them.
With the rising popularity of Twitter, many companies are tweeting their latest updates. These updates include new products, exciting news, and statements from the company. What is essential with these tweets is that you must grasp the consumer’s attention using only 140 characters, a challenge for many people.
“I can’t stress enough how behind the times an applicant will appear, at least to progressive companies, if they do not understand Twitter or its value,” Donna Talarico, Integrated Marketing Manager for Elizabethtown College said. Talarico, who has 2,105 followers on Twitter, helps stress these values in workshops she has taught at Wilkes University. Talarico thinks of Twitter as a teacher in itself with the ability to learn from those you follow.
Twitter is a way for class times to be extended beyond the hour and twenty minutes allotted. It is a way for students to respond at the convenience of the cell phones and laptops.
Occasionally you may run into someone on campus who took Dr. Johnson’s First Year Seminar “You and YouTube: Storytelling in Cyberspace.” Her students are familiar with using Twitter inside and outside of the classroom. Dr. Johnson previously had a class tweeter who would tweet the important facts they discussed in class that day and deliver a synopsis. This provided students a way to access the notes outside of the classroom.
Whether the use of Twitter should be kept outside of the classroom or not is a personal choice made by a professor. However, in today’s digital-driven society, accepting and understanding the use and value of Twitter is a way for both the teacher and the students to grasp the ever-flowing knowledge Twitter can deliver.
Twitter may not be around forever; soon we will give the cold shoulder to Twitter like we did a short while ago to MySpace and Xanga. In the techno age we are an ever-changing society. It is important for the education system to keep up with the latest in Social Networking to not only prepare us as students but to relate to us.