Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why Twitter?



So often I am asked, "Why Twitter?"

My initial thought?  Why not Twitter?

  1. One hundred forty character limit.  It demands brevity and word choice.

  2. Authenticity.  It is real writing in real time for, to, and with real people.

  3. It's social.  The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interactions.

  4. It's a network.  A space and place specifically designed for people to connect.

  5. It's personal.  Users can choose who they interact with and when.


If these commonly known reasons aren't enough.  Consider these:

Digital Citizenship.  When used in a safe place with the guidance of a trusted adult students, of all ages, learn positive digital citizenship skills.  They learn how to carefully choose their words; speaking to others in text only absent of facial cues and tone of voice.  They learn how to be private.  Mining what to share and keep to themselves.  They learn how to sift out fact; recognizing factual information versus opinion versus fictional.  Recognizing when people are tweeting as themselves or if someone is impersonating them.  Understanding the purpose of  marketing campaigns and that businesses are reaching out in new and inventive ways.

Purpose.  Change it.  Using social networks, like Twitter, in the classroom changes how people use (and view) it.  If we are using Twitter to share resources with students we are changing the purpose.  If we expect our students to share resources with each other we are changing the purpose.  If students are using it as a tool to answer burning and lingering questions they are changing the purpose of it.  If students are speaking to and/or following experts in the fields of science, history, language, and mathematics they are changing the purpose of it.

Why Twitter?  Because it transforms.