To twit or not to twit?

I came across these articles this morning whilst browsing through my twitter network – one from The Telegraph and the other from The Guardian. The content of both concerns the use of technology in school, yet one focuses on the misuse and the other its positive side. One reads like the usual scaremongering, feeding the doubters with yet more nonsense whilst the other reaches out to them, encouraging them to open their eyes and embrace technology and its use in the classroom.

They made me stop and think. I enjoyed both for different reasons but I found myself been drawn towards the negative aspects of an article more than the postive. Why?

The teacher who has used Twitter as a place to sound out her qualms about her profession and discuss her class should have known that it could have been read by others and unfortunately for her it has and is now splashed across a newspaper leaving her facing possible disciplinary action. Was she at fault? I don’t know but it does remind those of us in the profession how potentially damaging a simple carefree tweet can be.

However, at no time did the article mention the positive side of Twitter in the classroom. Instead it focused on the negative aspects of using Twitter and mentioned that the council pursuing the enquiry also blocks the use of Twitter and every other social network sites throughout its educational establishments.

Are they that narrow minded? How can the blocking of social networking sites for use in schools be considered a good thing? Do they not realise the potential that these sites can bring to a classroom if used effectively?

Effectively. That’s what we as teachers are up against. We want to use and do use more technology in our classrooms as we see it working, having a desired effect. We do use Twitter and other social networking sites for effective purposes when we ask for help in a world wide collaborative project; when we want to discuss social issues and contrast localities with others Twitter and its like are a fantastic and unequalled resource. Just look at this example 23 interesting ways to use Twitter in the classroom!

Authorities that are blinded by media scare tactics need to be educated as much as we educate our children in the use of technology. They need to see how useful eductional technology can be when used effectively; we can’t just let them decide what tools are useful or effective for us.

update More media outlets are picking up on the very same story: BBC, and even The Guardian