Can Twitter be used as an educational tool?

A paper recently published online in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (JCAL) has generated lively discussion on how the educational use of Twitter can affect college student engagement and grades. The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades by R Junco, G Heiberger and E Loken was published in November last year. The paper ‘provides experimental evidence that Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students and to mobilise faculty into a more active and participatory role’ (quoted from the abstract).

However, a JCAL reader, Dr Ellen Murphy, has raised some interesting issues about the paper, particularly about the language that is used to describe cause and effect, in a letter she wrote to the JCAL Editor, Charles Crook. Rather than being published in JCAL itself, we think the debate and correspondence between the authors, Dr Murphy and the JCAL Editor is better aired via this blog.

Read:

Charles Crook (Editor, JCAL)

JCAL Editor’s response
Letter to the Editor in response to The effect of Twitter on  college student engagement and grades (E. Murphy)

This letter was submitted with a view to publication in the journal.  Our advice on submissions does include the possibility of such correspondence.  However, in my 8-year tenure as Editor, this is the first time I have had to consider that possibility.  Moreover, ‘letters’ seem scarce items across the whole history of the journal.  On the other hand, it is certainly Continue reading “Can Twitter be used as an educational tool?”

Is Access to Social Networking a Measure of a Society’s Freedom?

In responding to the political demonstrations, the Egyptian government has disrupted internet service and mobile phone services, in the obvious hopes of (a) reducing the volume of testimonies and videos being communicated outside of the country and (b) to disrupt the capacity of the protesters to remain organised and to communicate their progress to the greater population.

The BBC reports that both Facebook and Twitter— relied upon by protest organisers— have responded to the attacks in order to maintain service in these countries.  The Atlantic, meanwhile, offers some thoughts on whether Continue reading “Is Access to Social Networking a Measure of a Society’s Freedom?”

If a lion could tweet…

…would we understand what he has to say? We could not, says Wittgenstein, to take liberties with one of his most (in)famous Witt-icisms. The question, however, might more rightly be put: if Wittgenstein could Tweet…? Well, now, we have the possibility of finding out. Yes, that’s right. Wittgenstein has opened a Twitter account.

OK, so that may not be wholly true (tweeting from beyond the grave isn’t the done thing just yet, even this close to halloween). But nevertheless, a new account has recently sprung to life, providing updates as if from the mouth of Wittgenstein. Continue reading “If a lion could tweet…”

Twittering On

The Thread begins a new series on London’s Resonance FM, starting with an episode entitled ‘The Poetics of Twitter‘. The Twitter device reveals interesting and often counter-intuitive phenomena that challenge pre-conceived philosophical and aesthetic notions – about formation of the self, about Ego, about what ‘space’ or ‘network’ might mean, about semiotics.

Most fascinating are the multifarious manipulations of the Twitter form by artists, poets, academics: a piece of software designed to attract followers according to an exponential scale and then groom these followers according to a specific demographic; another that posted every letter typed into a particular PC directly onto a Twitter account, revealing intimate details of a person’s activities; another using Twitter as the structural framework for a kind of automatic poetry.

Fascinating also is what the response to such new media may be from traditional academic circles. In an attempt to keep up with hyperspeed technology, will we see more fragmentary, topical discussion-based analysis and less long-form literature?

Related articles:
Experimental Philosophy
By Joshua Knobe , University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
(Vol. 1, November 2006)
Philosophy Compass

The Text-Performance Relation in Theater
By James Hamilton , Kansas State University
(Vol. 4, June 2009)
Philosophy Compass