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Could Twitter Have a Place in Classrooms?

The debate on whether or not students should have smartphones in the classroom seems to be on a bit of a pause, however, a recent Miami Herald piece reveals that smartphones in the classroom might produce smarter students.

“Googling, tweeting and texting are an integral part of Professor Andres Caiaffa's classroom’s culture,” says Monique O. Madan of the Miami Herald.

“As our student population changes, we need to change with them,” said Caiaffa, a teacher at Miami Dade College’s Benjamin Leon School of Nursing, according to the article.

“Everything around them is related to the use of the Internet, so I’m using to my advantage that they like to be connected, they like to be online.”

While Caiaffa’s experience with students are on more of a higher education level, Madan says that South Florida K-12 schools are participating in a BYOD policy that was introduced in late 2014. This policy was also initiated in many classrooms nationwide but according to Computer World, it’s a “fading fad.”

So if it’s such a fading fad how is Caiaffa using it to his advantage and does his use translate to formula that can be used in all classrooms including K-12?

Well, Caiaffa told Madan that he uses Twitter to engage students and that it also brings him closer to his students.

“Students use Twitter to follow classroom lectures and text messaging to communicate one-on-one with him,” reported Madan.

“I encourage them to use the phone as a source of information, to find credible, reliable sources. By having access to it during class, they can find the right answer, right there, right in their hands. No excuse.”

While Caiaffa says that his students tend to do better on exams because of this, a study by J.H. Kuznekoff showed a mixed interpretation.

“The study found that students who abstained from Twitter and text messaging received a 10 to 17 percent higher letter grade, scored 70 percent higher on retaining information, and scored 50 percent higher on note-taking than students who used the same technology to talk about non-classroom content,” according to Madan.

“But in an important finding, students who used text and Twitter to actually talk about what’s going on in class do just as well as counterparts not using the phone.”

Instructors of grades K-6 might not find this much useful nor might they want to have students have Twitter accounts at such young ages. That being said, this might be interesting to test in students in grades 7-12. Do you think Twitter is a good idea for students in grades 7-12 or would it be too much of a distraction?

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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