Counterpoint: Should teachers use twitter for educational purposes?

Sabina Unni, Staff Writer

Twitter has become a global phenoenon, allowing individuals to broadcast any opinions they have in 140 characters or less. Teachers—especially in  Schreiber—have begun to use Twitter accounts to spread information and to even humor their students.

However, the increase in teachers with Twitter accounts can have questionable consequences for students.

Not all students have the ability to access Twitter.  Either due to parental restrictions, or at their own discretion, not all students use Twitter.

The nonuniform access to Twitter gives those who are able to follow teachers an unfair advantage.  Twitter helps build student-teacher relationships as well as helps circulate critical information that can be pertinent to tests.Those who do not have access to Twitter will not be able to receive this help.

“I heard that Twitter takes a lot of your time,” said junior Carolyn Suh. “It’s unfair that people get an advantage. They get rewarded for procrastinating.”

With more and more students interacting with teachers on Twitter, the boundary between school and home is blurring.  In addition, this usage of Twitter modifies the traditional dynamic between teachers and students and in-class interactions.

“Students have a right to privacy in their beliefs.  Most post on social networking sites in order to share their interests with family and friends,” said junior Kim Winter.  “The key to a safe and successful working environment is to keep a strictly professional student/teacher relationship.  As soon as students begin regarding teachers as ‘friends’ rather than an authority figure, the teachers lose respect and control in their classroom.”

Projecting personal opinions and jokes poses a concern to students who do not desire to share the same information with their teachers as they do with their close friends.  Students who follow their teachers must be constantly wary of what they post.  Although being friendly with teachers is nice, those friendships should not be comparable to those between students.

“Every time I follow one of my teachers on Twitter, I have a mini heart attack that they’ll read one of my tweets.” said senior Sabrina Brennan.

Engrade and email are more appropriate ways for students and teachers to communicate with each other.  Using these websites, both teachers and students are able to convey information with greater detail in an equally timely manner.

Sending an email or using Engrade is much more beneficial as everyone in the class receives the information, not just those who happen to see it.  Engrade and email accounts are also more private than Twitter accounts.  If a student needs to ask an embarrassing or personal question, they can do so without the fear of other students seeing it.

In addition, due to space limitations, teachers’ “helpful” tweets often simplify and flatten complex information that needs to be thoroughly conveyed to students.  Using a service with essentially unlimited space, teachers can elaborate on the topic and fully communicate with students.

Teachers having Twitter accounts is like inviting 1/3 of the students to the teacher’s house for a review session where the teacher answers all questions with one sentence only.  It’s great for the students that were invited, but unjust for those who weren’t.