Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let me Tweet in class

I cannot keep up with my Twitter account and I know I'm not the only student saying that today. When I first signed up, I really didn't know how I wanted to use Twitter. I didn't want it to turn into a human GPS of updates as to where I was at all times and I didn't want it to only aggregate national or world news. I wanted it to be an interesting news source from me. But, when I started Tweeting, I didn't have a data plan for my phone and the only time I could Tweet was when I was at home sitting by my laptop. And, well, nothing interesting was happening then. When I was at a journalism conference two years ago, I noticed a lot of people Tweeting conference information they thought was interesting through their feed. I thought that was good idea — use Twitter to tell people what you are learning throughout the day. But, I found it really hard to do that when I came back to school.

How many times has your professor told you to shut your laptop and put away your phone in class? If you've been in any of my classes, you've heard that rule quite a lot. Using media in class is considered rude in a lot of classrooms. But, what are they so afraid of? Do they think I'm going to be on Facebook during their class? Well, I probably will be. But, what if I'm posting information I'm learning from class? Isn't that beneficial? That's the way students work today. We need to be plugged in to social media and we usually are at any other time of the day. But, until recently, I haven't found a professor who whole-heartedly agrees with the idea of using social media in class.

Yesterday, our college hosted the 2011 Izzy Awards for independent media and before the ceremony I, along with several other students and visitors, had the opportunity to have dinner with Robert Sheer, editor-in-chief of TruthDig, and Jarrett Murphy, editor of City Limits. The dinner was presented more like a panel discussion with my professor Jeff Cohen mediating comments between the two journalists. But, Sheer was the clear voice of the evening and early on in the conversation he asked why the students at the dinner weren't on laptops.

He seemed pretty disturbed that we weren't Googling, Tweeting and researching while we listened. And, at that moment, I thought "YES! FINALLY! HE UNDERSTANDS!"

Do I think I'm going be able to Tweet in class? Probably not. But, maybe soon ...

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