I found this via a Facebook post by Nels Highberg, “Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class — via Twitter.” Here’s the opening paragraph:
Cole W. Camplese, director of education-technology services at Pennsylvania State University at University Park, prefers to teach in classrooms with two screens — one to project his slides, and another to project a Twitter stream of notes from students. He knows he is inviting distraction — after all, he’s essentially asking students to pass notes during class. But he argues that the additional layer of communication will make for richer class discussions.
Camplese started this first with a 20 student grad class, and while it took a while to catch on, he says, and one of his goal with this encouraged and systematic “back channel” communication is to disrupt the traditional classroom lecture/discussion model.
Maybe this is a good experiment, and it is something I will certainly bring up the next time I teach English 516. But I doubt this is going to catch on in my department. There is a movement here– a mini-movement, but a movement nonetheless– to have a departmental policy against laptop use in classes. It’s a confusing and odd policy for all sorts of different reasons, and it would be at the discretion of the instructor. In other words, students in my classes could still use their laptops. Anyway, my point is this mini-movement suggests to me that there might be a few folks not quite ready for a Twitter-hosted back channel discussion.
All this reminds me that one of these days, I think I might have to learn a bit more about the Twitter….