Twitter Becomes Class Involvement Tool

Monday, November 8, 2010

According to a study to be published in next week's Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Twitter is being used as means to improve class participation.

In an article by Sarah Kessler on Mashable, it is reported that this experiment conducted by Dr. Reynol Junco at Lock Haven University has seen great results.

According to the study students who were asked to complete assignments and join class discussion via Twitter raised their class involvement twice as much as the control group over a semester long period.

A 19 question survey was used at the start and end of the semester to determine each students involvement, which apparently was a success.

In addition the article points out that students who used Twitter saw a .5 increase in their GPA over the semester.

This to me seems like another point on how social media is taking over our everyday life. Using 140 characters to communicate in class seems crazy to me. I can see that this has advantages to get students of today to participate more in class by using new technology. But in reality isn't this hurting students?

It seems that Twitter and Facebook have done nothing but erase the grammar and punctuation rules that have been instilled in students heads by English teachers all over the world. Students are more apt to use slang terms than actually using proper grammar.

In my opinion this is just a dumbing down of our society. Yes social media is great for many purposes but as far as using it as a way to get students to participate, I think it is a bad idea. The only way it could be good is if students were forced to use proper grammar and punctuation which i think we all know would be tough to do.

I guess we'll just have to see if this idea takes off in more classrooms. I would really hope that it doesn't unless it is overwhelmingly helpful for students. Then it may be ok.
Photo courtesy of Carrot Creative/Flickr


Suspended For Civic Engagment?

A top story in the headlines is the suspension and reinstatement of MSNBC host Kieth Olbermann for giving monetary donations to Democratic political candidates.

Now the question is, is it against journalistic ethics for a journalist to support one political candidate over the other?

MSNBC is a clearly left-leaning institution, though as a whole it claims to remain mainly unbiased. Kieth Olbermann is also clearly a supporter of the Democratic party.

However, Olbermann is also a journalist--and a popular one at that. Thousands of people tune into his commentaries on issues or current political proceedings.

Anyone that watches his show can clearly see that Olbermann is a Democrat supporter, so his monetary gifts shouldn't have been much of a surprise to any audience member. Therefore, is it fair that he was suspended for this act?

Some people are commenting that Olbermann should have been completely honest about giving money to the candidates from the start; but, are private citizens rightfully expected to show where their money is going?

The issue is not about whether or not Olbermann should support one candidate over another as a journalist. The issue is about whether or not a citizen in the public eye should be 1.) expected to engage in civic duties, and 2.) expected to disclose all political leanings to the public.

This can all go back to my previous blog about biases--if a person has a particular bias, he or she will present information through that bias.

Olbermann has a bias, and though he hadn't come out and said that he supported the Democratic party, his bias was still clear to the audience. The audience is able to take the information with the understanding that the information they were receiving from Olbermann came through that bias.

It shouldn't be necessary for a person like Olbermann, who is working for a clearly left-leaning company and presenting clearly left-leaning opinions, to publicly disclose his or her positions of civic involvement.

Everyone knows his bias, and every engaged citizen should be able to take information from him as it is through that bias without Olbermann needing to feed it to them.


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