Point: Should teachers use twitter for educational purposes?

Harry Paul, Photography Editor

There are plenty of uses for new technologies.  Some of them are more controversial than others.  School officials are conflicted over the use of social media as they try to find a balance in the technological landscape of their institutions.

Most schools have followed a simple formula: encourage educational technology, save socializing for after-hours.  The question then becomes, what do you do when these two are combined?

Twitter is a prime network for the instantaneous spread of news and other important information.  Celebrities tweet, and everyone listens.  High school and college students use it to share everything from homework assignments to cyber bullying to unsavory pictures.

With over 500 million unique tweets sent per day, Twitter is a treasure trove of information.

What has made Twitter all the more attractive for the student-teacher relationship is the ability to interact in an environment that is much more normal to many students than a teacher’s desk.

“By having a Twitter account and occasionally tweeting about non-curricular topics, we get a better sense of who teachers are as people,” said senior Annie Kim.  “They’re no longer inhuman figures standing in the front of the room giving lectures.”

Certain teachers have realized the power of their Twitter activity.

Social Studies teacher Mr. Jeremy Klaff first signed up for a Twitter account because he thought it would be useful to connect with students for APUSH review before the AP exam.  It was so popular that he used it for Regents review later that same year.  His overall Twitter usage has since become more far-reaching.

“Between the tests, I thought Twitter was a good way for me to make history fun, and tweet about specific dates in history, as well as other fun nuances that history has to offer.  I also like tweeting celebrities and inviting them into Social Studies chatrooms. However, for some reason, Kim Kardashian doesn’t want to review Napoleon,” said Mr. Klaff.  “This year, I tweeted about the new texting stations on the LIE, and my tweet was picked up by a Toronto newspaper.  With this new international fame, I picked up two Canadian followers.”

As more and more teachers begin to use Twitter, especially in the Social Studies department, new bonds have formed between teachers and students.

“It’s a really helpful way for students to get in touch with Mr. Schultz outside of school and he’s able to keep everyone up to date by using Twitter as a tool to remind students about upcoming assignments.  Having a Twitter makes him much more approachable and available,” said senior Emily Youner.

The intereactions can also happen between teachers, as was made apparent during the Radiothon last spring.

“Teacher to teacher interactions are extremely entertaining to follow and provide insight into their personalities and relationships,” said Kim.

Twitter offers teachers a variety of ways to provide students a more balanced educational experience.

It has long been a goal of teachers to adapt lessons to the themes that interest their students, as a means of starting conversations and thus raising interaction.  The more involved students are in the educational process, the better they will do.

If students are invested enough to post about their education, that can serve as a catalyst to interest their peers in funny videos, cool websites and interesting GIFs.