College professors find Twitter a useful educational tool

Adapting their teaching to take advantage of new technology, a growing number of college professors are using Twitter as an extension of the classroom, reports the Wichita Eagle — asking students to raise questions, hold discussions online, keep up with breaking news, and share links to interesting stories. Some, like Mary Knudson, who teaches writing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, use Twitter to encourage students to write concisely. She thinks the limited number of characters helps writers remember to choose words carefully, cut clutter, and realize how much can be said in a small space, like a haiku. Others say experimentation with Twitter is the latest sign of a real shift in education, away from a professor lecturing students to a more democratic and wide-ranging exchange of information. "It changes the dynamic of the way people teach and the way people learn," said Monte Lutz, a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins. "It encourages people to connect with each other. It can be almost a Socratic dialogue, in real time, in the class."

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