Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Attribution westm at flickr.com

Last semester in my English 1102 class my professor introduced an idea that I never thought would happen in a classroom setting, we were going to use Twitter as a tool for class discussions.

As an avid tweeter, I was pretty excited about the idea, but some of my peers seemed a bit skeptical.

The idea behind it is that it would be easier for students to contribute to class discussions because multiple students could tweet at once, and then all the other students could view their tweets. You wouldn’t have to worry about that one student that feels the need to use half the class time voicing his or her opinion while everyone else just has to sit there and listen. There may have been some students who were somewhat quiet and not comfortable in more traditional class discussions, but with the use of Twitter they didn’t actually have to speak out for their voice to be heard. It was also a good tool for us to see the thoughts from students from other sections.

Although it is still prevalent, I don’t believe the traditional classroom is the best way for us to learn…

As planned, we used it some during class discussions, and we were also able to comment on others’ presentations without having to be a disruption.

It was helpful in the fact that you didn’t have to remember everything that your peers had mentioned throughout the discussion. If they contributed to the discussion by using Twitter, you could just go back and look at their tweet to see their thoughts.

Personally, I really enjoyed using it and thought it was a valuable tool for getting the most out of that class. I thought that it was important that my professor was finding different ways to keep the students engaged, specifically using technology.

Not only did Twitter help us learn the material from the course, I also think many students who had not previously not used Twitter gained a valuable lesson by just learning how to use it.

Social networks are already vital to businesses, as 73 percent of Fortune 500 companies have active Twitter accounts, and if the trend continues, more and more companies will continue to use social networks. As many of us may go on to be employees of these companies, or even start our own, it is important for us to be familiar with tools that can be vital to the success of a company.

Although it is still prevalent, I don’t believe the traditional classroom is the best way for us to learn anymore. I would really like to see more Tech professors find creative ways to keep the students engaged in the class and where we are be able to contribute our personal knowledge of the topic to the rest of the students.

I understand not many of the classes here at Tech aren’t as discussion based as the English classes, and there may not be a way to incorporate a social network into every class, but I still think it is important for the professors to do something. Even it is just as simple as using the PRS clickers to make sure students are paying attention and learning the material.