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What? Twitter Is Good For Classroom Use?

I have personally benefited from taking part in "live" conversations on Twitter. I view news trends on Twitter. I connect with other social media types on Twitter. I get my comic relief on Twitter. On my recent trip to Paris with the Traveling Geeks, I extended that conversation globally while I used Twitter to liveblog my trip.

But I always imagined that if I was a student, use of Twitter in the classroom would be discouraged. At the same time, I see that students are embracing social media at a frantic pace so there is a disconnect if schools don't utilize social media for learning.

Tonight I read an article on Mashable titled "How Twitter in the Classroom is Boosting Student Engagement". The article was written by Greg Ferenstein who, among other things,designs college curricula. He wrote "Fortunately, educators (including myself) have found that Twitter is an effective way to broaden participation in lecture". The post discussed that Twitter friendly classrooms could have increased participation and extend the conversation outside of the classroom. Greg Ferenstein concluded "For schools hit hard by the recession, Twitter is an inexpensive
solution to the growing problem of increasing class sizes. It is a
tried-and-true platform to let conversations flourish
".

I have already seen how my 11 year old uses texting to communicate with his friends and has extended their conversations outside of playdates. While there is a dangerous side to social media use by kids, which includes cyberbullying and inappropriate use of online communications, I agree that the there is great potential to increase channels of communication.

To prepare for increased use of social media by students, I hope that schools are spending time creating social media policies and making sure teachers and students get the appropriate training. Then just having some fun. I know I am..