By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pack your textbook and your smartphone if you have a certain Temple professor. He encourages students to tweet in class.
Jordan Shapiro says the same critical thinking and crisp articulation skills come from writing essays as they do in 140 characters.
“When they get into the business sector, they need to learn how to carry on multiple kinds of conversations. Part of what I’m doing is creating a space where they can start to experiment and start to learn how to do that in ways that will last the rest of their lives — that’s a valuable skill to be able to think critically in multiple ways.”
The core curriculum instructor has a specific hashtag for each class and projects tweets on a screen.
“It allows you to say something that’s slightly off-topic in a way, without disrupting the class. It adds more layers of nuance to the class in that way.”
Students can’t lose points if they don’t tweet. But what about losing the plot — after all, they’re there for Plato, Socrates, and Freud.
“It’s just another opportunity for them to engage with the class material, and if I can shepherd that to some extent, then I think that’s a positive thing.”
He’s felt the pushback from some professors who call it a distraction. Shapiro says it’s just one way to breathe new life into age-old material.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily the future of education, but I think we’d be nuts to keep education from starting to embrace and teach our students from starting to utilize these tools in more intelligent ways.”