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To Tweet or Not to Tweet

By John Rush, '13

Many classes in the Knight School of Communication are starting to use Twitter during class. While some may argue that Twitter is just a way for mass text messaging and a way to waste time, professors in the Knight School argue that it is beneficial to sharing ideas in the classroom. Keeping up with technology in a very quickly changing world can be quite challenging. Because the professors have a desire for their students to be successful in their respective careers, they constantly search for new forms of communication to use in the classroom, such as Twitter.

One argument for the use of Twitter in the classroom is that it enables students to discuss topics with people all over the world. For example, a Knight School class may be discussing the effects of the recent tsunami in Japan. Now, the class is able to gain perspective from other students who are in Japan through Twitter. Previously, the students would have to wait for the next morning's newspaper and only be able to have the one author's point of view. From this stand point, the professors in the Knight School of Communication encourage students to use the service during class.  Dr. John McArthur said, "Gone are the days when newspaper editors, broadcast producers, and publishing houses had control over the messages that were sent out to society."

On the other hand, various individuals would argue that the use of Twitter in the classroom is distracting and takes away from what is currently being taught. For instance, a student has the ability to tweet a friend about a basketball game coming up instead of learning about the topic being covered. School policies on mobile phones and internet blocking software have made keeping students attention in the classroom somewhat easier. However, professors argue that it is still hard to maintain the students' attention for the entire class. By using Twitter, some professors argue that it gives the student a "legitimate" reason to use his or her cell phone during class although he or she is not tweeting about class material.

Fortunately, the professors in the Knight School of Communication understand this challenge and have done a good job at keeping their students constantly engaged. Current communication student Max Kaczynski said, "Although the temptation to use Twitter for other purposes besides class work, it gives me a quicker way to communicate with my teachers when I do not understand certain material."

While arguments for and against the use of Twitter exist, the professors will continue to encourage students to use it and constantly look for other new forms of communication. Today's world calls for the constant exchange of ideas. Fortunately, the Knight School professors believe Twitter is one of the best ways to create information exchange at the high demanded pace.

About the Knight School of Communication:

The James L. Knight School of Communication provides students with a solid liberal arts education, enabling them to become better creators, consumers and critics of communication in a variety of professional and personal settings.  The school teaches students to think, speak, write, and act with precision and grace. More information can be found at: http://queens.edu/Academics-and-Schools/Schools-and-Colleges/Knight-School-of-Communication.html

Expected to graduate in 2013, John Rush is a Business Administration Major with a specialization in Marketing. He is also pursuing two minors: Leadership and Sports Communication. He, also, plays for the Queens men's soccer team.

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