Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Overstreet

Twitter

78 posts in this topic

and is for many people, useful.

It has been thrilling to see how helpful things like Twitter have become for higher-ed teachers. The immediacy of access students have to faculty these days is a really advancement over the old office hours sign-up sheet.

????????

That's news to me. I don't know a single higher-ed teacher who wants to (or does) use Twitter for "immediacy of access to students" (and I know quite a few who refuse to use it at all and consider it a bane that intrudes in unwelcome ways into the classroom). If anything, it shortens younger generations' already short attention span and encourages negative behavior of the sort that is already spiraling out of control (e.g. texting in class or other inappropriate places). If students have immediate access, they tend to do what is convenient rather than what is responsible. I've had students e-mail me to ask "where's your office?" "what's the assignment for tomorrow?" and "what's the turnitin.com code?" and other sorts of information that is readily available on the syllabus or elsewhere. I tend to not answer such requests, and if they come via social networking or text messages (Facebook, Twitter, cell phone) rather than approved avenues on the syllabus, I block the student from sending me any further messages. It's called SOCIAL networking software. [i did offer some students extra credit for signing up on Twitter as various characters in "Billy Budd" and telling the story in Twitlit form, but that's exploiting the asynchronous aspects of Online education, which is usually trumpeted as its greatest asset--in many ways the exact opposite of "immediacy of access."] Further the "immediacy" of access can (and in my experience usually does) erode the quality of access. It becomes about clearing your text/inbox answering 100 messages rather than being fully present to the person in front of you, which, in my opinion, is the bedrock of being a good teacher.

Guess what I'm saying is I pretty much vehemently disagree with Mike on that one. I'm sure there are good teachers (and students) who want that sort of immediate access to one another that Twitter provides to friends and family, but I hope they find each other and stay waaaaaaaaay the h--l away from me and my classroom.

That said, Twitter's like e-mail. If you don't like it, don't use it. The thing that strikes me as odd is how with it, like with Facebook, the people who don't like it/use it, feel the need to justify their non-use and their (not so) thinly veiled irritation at people who do. Maybe there are people who have had f2f relationships deteriorated by another's Internet application addictions, but barring that, the backlash strikes me as somewhat akin to each generation thinking their music is better than the junk their kids listen to.

*Edit--last paragraph is not referring to anyone in this forum or thread, which I confess to having not read through from the beginning.

Edited by kenmorefield

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to Twitter, I'm enjoying a free preview of the new Iron and Wine album today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might have a dog in this fight if Twitter's RSS feed thingy worked with Google Reader. But it doesn't, so I can always say that I WANT to be on Twitter but, for reasons having nothing to do with me, I CAN'T be on Twitter. Thus I get to be an abstainer while not being annoyingly principled about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, Twitter is mainly an opportunity to be creative. I contemplated creating a second Twitter identity, Skynet, and I was going to create this cranky AI gaining sentience personality that would brag about things like being the real leak of the Wolverine film...because I am Skynet, and I can go...anywhere. Then I saw hundreds of people signed up as Skynet and the devious fun I anticipated felt less humorous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know a single higher-ed teacher who wants to (or does) use Twitter for "immediacy of access to students" (and I know quite a few who refuse to use it at all and consider it a bane that intrudes in unwelcome ways into the classroom).

I know scores that embrace it and multiple web-based teaching applications. Twitter and similar applications have become a common communication device, inside the classroom and out.

Guess what I'm saying is I pretty much vehemently disagree with Mike on that one. I'm sure there are good teachers (and students) who want that sort of immediate access to one another that Twitter provides to friends and family, but I hope they find each other and stay waaaaaaaaay the h--l away from me and my classroom.

Then why teach? I got into the business because I like students. It has been a constant shame for me to deal with students that have been burned by teachers that love the sound of their own voice and the open academic schedule (yay summer!) and have no regard for the fact that actual learners are passing through their syllabi year after year. To parse your conditional "I am sure there are..." Do you really mean that? The vast amount of "a"s in your rhetorical "way" seems to indicate that you think the classroom is this privileged place in which your personal time is holy. It isn't. Students need access. They pay for access. Web 2.0 has made it much easier for all involved.

"I hope they find each other." How patronizing. Are they less intelligent? What specific quality is it that makes such people less welcome in your classroom?

Further the "immediacy" of access can (and in my experience usually does) erode the quality of access. It becomes about clearing your text/inbox answering 100 messages rather than being fully present to the person in front of you, which, in my opinion, is the bedrock of being a good teacher.

This isn't the case in a generation that has learned to filter "quality of access" through channels that are more effective than the aging channels of bureaucracy that clog past higher-ed processes. One can very easily have it both ways, and the student always benefits. McLuhan cuts both ways, as he was always quick to point out.

Edited by MLeary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To parse your conditional "I am sure there are..." Do you really mean that?

I believe it, because Mike tells me it is so, and he would apparently know better than I.

The vast amount of "a"s in your rhetorical "way" seems to indicate that you think the classroom is this privileged place in which your personal time is holy.

Go back and read my post again. It seems you were Tweeting during class time and missed me saying the exact opposite. Class time IS access students pay for. Office hours (with their pesky little sign up sheets that you find so burdensome) are access students pay for. What's holy is my personal time. The notion that Twitter is great because a student doesn't have to sign up for or come to office hours because she can Tweet me at 11 o'clock with a question about a paper due the next day is not what students pay for. Those who get it, like kids who get a sucker when they throw a tantrum at the grocery store, only learn bad habits that annoy the rest of the world and (usually) come back to bite them when they find themselves in a situation where the world keeps spinning even if its not convenient for them.

And while we're parsing each other's rhetoric your "I got into the business..." suggests that if someone doesn't embrace your willingness to be personal secretary on call for students as well as their teacher that they don't "like" students. That's just bizarre. I like my students just fine. And (assuming their feedback is even 1/2 way honest) most of them like me--in part because I don't waste the time of the responsible ones by spending half the class answering students who say "But I Tweeted you last night and you didn't answer" or interrupt an office hour when I'm helping the "B+ but wants to earn an "A" student who actually managed to trudge over and sign up for an office hour prepare for a test so that I can answer a Twitter from their "D+ but wants to be given a B" classmate who says "i missd class 2day, did i miss anything?"

But hey, thanks for cluing me in on what's common in my industry, what has made my job easier for "everyone concerned" (guess I'm not concerned), and what is and isn't the case with the generation that sits before me every day. Oh, and for letting me know that I'm the one who's patronizing. (Because you know, there's nothing patronizing about your remarks whatsoever, is there?)

This isn't the case in a generation that has learned to filter "quality of access" through channels

Perhaps, but I doubt it. Much like studies show most people think they are much more resistant to advertising, propaganda, and/or even some forms of subliminal messaging than they actually are, I personally think that there are a lot of people who think they are better at filtering quality of access than they actually are. But phrases like "the student always benefits" just tells me we're so far apart there isn't much point in doing anything other than agreeing to disagree. (Or not agreeing to disagree, but simply disagreeing.) Students, even of the current generation are not monolithic. They respond differently to various learning styles and teaching methods. Yes, I hope the students who genuinely would benefit from the sort of immediacy of access that you claim they ALL want find the teachers who are embracing it that you say exist in greater measure than I've seen. And I hope the students who would benefit from other types of relationships find me.

Ken

Edited by kenmorefield

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not even sure how to respond to this knee-jerk ad-hominem sarcastic stuff, Ken. I don't think it is helpful or constructive here at A&F.

I asked: "What specific quality is it that makes such people less welcome in your classroom?"

That is a fair question given the ferocity of your rhetoric. Differentiated instruction is a fairly standard starting point at any level of education. Fact is, the "i missd class 2day, did i miss anything?" students are going to be in every classroom. Are they less deserving of a teacher's attention? I have had many students that communicate that way in email or text that have ended up after a slight amount of direction writing good papers on everything from Hume to 1 Corinthians.

"the student always benefits"

A student always benefits from any level of access from their educator. Plain and simple. Remote education via Web 2.0 applications have revitalized several specific degree programs in many US urban contexts, most notably education degrees and certifications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am not even sure how to respond to this knee-jerk ad-hominem sarcastic stuff, Ken.

Says the man who calls me patronizing for not agreeing with him? Ad hominem means an attack on the person, Mike. What have I said that has attacked you? I said I vehemently disagree with you. You respond by calling me patronizing. I have said in my experience I have not seen the things you say are common or wish were. You say that equates me with students who have been burned that you have to nurse (intellectually or spiritually) through rehab. I say I have my doubts about what you think is true. You respond with unqualified absolutes about what is true. I've said that I hope people who like what you like find teachers of the sort that you say you wish to be. You say that it's a shame that people like me teach at all. Who's being ad-hominem?

I don't think it is helpful or constructive here at A&F.

Well, I had certainly hoped that things would be different around here, but I can see that hope was probably naive of me. So, yes, you are probably right; I doubt my continued contributions here would be helpful or beneficial to anyone. You have already made it clear that they would not be so for you, and so I cede the floor to you. Feel free to make whatever statements you wish about teaching, Twitter, or me with no fear of contradiction or challenge from me.

Ken

Edited by kenmorefield

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I had certainly hoped that things would be different around here, but I can see that hope was probably naive of me.

I think things will be, and we will gain an increasing ability at A&F to disagree more transparently. As I said, this is an age old debate in terms of differentiated instruction as it is now applied to educational technology. It really isn't anything you won't find rehashed at a dozen conferences yet again this year.

As to your contributions, I have told you both publicly and privately that you have a remarkable perspective on certain areas of cinema. Your confrontational rhetoric and unpredictable sensitivity often obfuscates what can otherwise be extremely helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, this discussion is apparently over, but FWIW: MLeary, your rhetoric was also confrontational and, yes, patronizing. Surely "disagreeing transparently" doesn't mean jumping all over each other. It's been said over and over: conveying tone online is very difficult. Both Ken and M probably "sounded" perfectly reasonable to themselves. To each other, they sounded harsh.

If you want to have a debate, before replying, assume that the other person has the best possible motives rather than the worst? That might be a good place to start.

And there should probably be a separate thread for discussion of technology for teaching. If it's worth discussing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, I found both perspectives on education and Twitter interesting, and both guys have good points.

Working at Seattle Pacific University, I can see that Twitter's proving productive in some circles, not in others. I'm sure a lot depends on the instructor and their style. Personally, if I was an instructor, I would love chatting with students on Twitter. As a staff member, I do anyway. And SPU's starting to use Twitter in an official capacity, as different administrative offices use it as a way to get information to students. Other practical uses are in the planning stages. But my favorite professor at Seattle Pacific would probably shudder at the thought.

Anyway, I admire both contributors, and I really hope we can all take a deep breath, forgive the personal jabs, trust that tones and intentions were misunderstood, and move on.

Hey, look what I just found via Twitter.

Edited by Overstreet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, this discussion is apparently over, but FWIW: MLeary, your rhetoric was also confrontational and, yes, patronizing.

If you want to have a debate, before replying, assume that the other person has the best possible motives rather than the worst? That might be a good place to start.

I was being confrontational, I was not trying to be patronizing. That is not a tone that I use here or elsewhere, and I apologize to Ken and all for the indiscretion. I can tell from Ken's writing style elsewhere that his teaching style matches that of professors I have learned much from in the past.

unspokenjournal.com looks brilliant.

Edited by MLeary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, Ellen, I believe the person in question told you specifically that toughness was not a male attribute. Women can be tough, too. And should be.

FWIW, my sympathies incline a little more towards kenmorefield's side of this particular debate. Students and teachers both need boundaries. And since the whole point of teaching is to enable students to learn for themselves, there's really no reason to encourage shortcuts by answering every Twitter or e-mail that inquires about the day's lesson or homework or whatever. Students are supposed to keep that stuff on file for themselves, and they are supposed to know where they can get that information in case they do lose their files.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You guys (meant generally) need to work on talking with each other, rather than at each other.

No comment.

* Then again, someone just recently insisted to me that this site is about men who do a lot of chest-beating, and that I need to "toughen up."

Did those two assertions really come from the same person? One is a silly, dismissive remark about the board based on the gender of most of its participants, and the other says you need to work against your own sensitivities to engage the board. Does this person think the board is worthwhile, or not? Or are you paraphrasing one or the other of those assertions?

Somehow that strikes me as being way off the mark,

Indeed.

but what do I know? I'm just a "girl," after all.

If gender isn't a valid excuse for Ken and Michael, then it's not a valid excuse for anyone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Twitter is either one more way for teachers to be annoyed by students with inappropriate boundaries and a deficient sense of personal responsibility, or it's a cool and useful collaborative tool that can aid the learning process. Or we could say it's both, and hypothesize that there's a higher ratio of clueless jerks among Ken's students than among Michael's.

My wife taught a college-level intro theatre course at a local Christian college a few years back. It was pre-Twitter but not pre-text messaging. She did have students who would text during class, or step out of class to take personal calls on their cell phones -- they could use technology for these purposes, but apparently were unable to locate, download and read the syllabus she posted on her Web site for them.

I heard about one instructor who had a novel solution for the texting-in-class problem: The first time she caught a student doing it, the entire class had to take a pop quiz. It happened once in every class, but never more than once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I heard about one instructor who had a novel solution for the texting-in-class problem: The first time she caught a student doing it, the entire class had to take a pop quiz. It happened once in every class, but never more than once.

Brilliant!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Twitter Puts a Muzzle on Your Friends: Goodbye People I Never Knew

It's not exactly a silent spring, but a change made to Twitter's settings this afternoon has already greatly reduced the tweets its users are witness to. In what the company called a small settings update, users no longer see public replies sent by friends to people they themselves are not following. (Fragmented conversations, they are called.) This isn't a small change at all, it's big and it's bad. The new setting eliminates serendipitous social discovery. . . .

The new policy isn't something you have to opt-in to. It's not something you can opt-out of. It's true for people who use 3rd party Twitter clients to read their Tweets. It's more fundamentally closed than Facebook is; on that site I may not be able to view the profiles of strangers talking to my friends, but I can see that the conversations are happening and I can read the comments. This new Twitter policy breaks one of the fundamental rules of social activity streams: that I can discover new people by seeing who is conversing with the people I already know. . . .

ReadWriteWeb.com, May 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had an election in British Columbia yesterday, and this morning's news included this interesting tidbit, courtesy of the Globe and Mail:

Tuesday wasn't just about results, as one party's use of a social networking site was found to be in violation of the province's Election Act. The B.C. Liberal Party had been posting updates on its Twitter account during the day. Someone reported it to Elections B.C., which told the party it was in violation of a law that prevents candidates, parties and third-party sponsors from advertising on election day.

The Liberals stopped their so-called

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if anyone is following David Lynch on twitter, but he's been posting about a new project he's sponsored that looks to be pretty interesting thus far. It's called the Interview Project. In the aim of encouraging people to go to Lynch's twitter page, I won't post the link.

The first installment was great. Can't wait for them to go live with weekly installments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking for someone to follow? Beliefnet's 12 inspirational Celebrity Twitterers--YMMV. At the end, a list of Beliefnet Twitterers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Twitter was going to perform a major upgrade to their system, but because it's been one of the primary methods for disseminating information about what's going on in Iran right now, they pushed back the upgrade to a time that wouldn't compromise that.

A critical network upgrade must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter. In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight. However, our network partners at NTT America recognize the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran. Tonight's planned maintenance has been rescheduled to tomorrow between 2-3p PST (1:30a in Iran).

Which is pretty cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0