Professor Highlights Value of Twitter in the Classroom

By Catherine Groux
Posted November 21, 2012 04:00 PM

A college professor is using Twitter as a big part of his lessons.
A college professor is using Twitter as a big part of his lessons.
In June, Twitter passed an important milestone as it reached 500,000 members, analyst group Semiocast reported. As the social networking site continues to grow, it has begun to establish its place in higher education, as professors across the country use Twitter to teach students about journalism, marketing, communications and business.

Stephen Groening, a professor at Virginia's George Mason University, is taking Twitter's place in academia to another level, as he recently hosted an entire classroom discussions on the site, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. This semester, Groening, an assistant professor of film and media studies, decided to offer a course on cellphone cultures. Therefore, it only seemed fitting for him to emphasize the growing importance of Twitter in everyday life.

Earlier this week, Groening began his "experiential learning" by requiring students to discuss their reading assignments exclusively through Twitter, using projectors to display their conversations on the classroom's walls.

"I was super nervous because to me, teaching means a lot of talking - giving a lecture or giving a discussion," Groening told the Chronicle. "I was more scared for this class than I've been in years because the kinds of tasks that I associate with teaching I wasn’t able to do. I was worried that it would get out of control and either be very much off-topic or nobody would have anything to say."

Students' lessons in modern learning will not end with Twitter discussions. The class has already been asked to create photo essays with their cellphone cameras, and will later organize flash mobs with their phones as a final project.

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