Debate: Should Schools Use Social Media to Spark Classroom Discussion?

If cellphones are permitted in your child’s school, how much longer do you think it will be before social media tools such as Twitter enter the classroom as a part of learning? Well, not long. In fact, a few high school teachers in the United States are now taking advantage of kids’ use of cellphones in the classroom, creating what’s being called “back-channel” discussions via Twitter. The idea is that many students who might otherwise stay silent and tune out during discussion times (especially those too shy to raise their hands) can now use their hand-held devices to chime in.

So far, the initial feedback is promising—one Grade 4 teacher told the New York Times that Twitter discussions have helped her students develop independent comprehension skills, and a Grade 11 student said that the technology has led to everyone in her class being heard.

—Tim Johnson, Canadian Family magazine’s contributing editor

Do you think that schools should use social media like Twitter to help spark classroom discussion?


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