Travis Hensley" />
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Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Christ in 140 characters or less

Twitter in church. Twitter in class. Twitter at work. Twitter in the bathroom. Twitter everywhere. Why? Because you can. The use of technology to constantly narrate one’s life story is here and ready to be embraced.

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church and Pastor Kerry Shook of the Fellowship of the Woodlands have incorporated this technology into their churches, asking parishioners to tweet during services.

At Mars Hill, tweets members send in about how the service has impacted them are displayed in real time, with the messages projected onto large screens behind Driscoll.

Both pastors use Twitter as a tool to make church services more interactive. These churches have large congregations and are nondenominational, so there is no word yet on whether or not the Pope will start tweeting about the joys of pointy hats. Both churches find this untraditional tool beneficial in getting people involved in services.

This is an easy model to apply to classrooms, where the distractions provided by Web sites already exist. Just sit in the back of a class and count how many people have their laptops or smart phones open. They are already on these sites.’

Sure, they may have a Word document open titled ‘notes,’ but that’s just for when teachers walk by. At that point in time, they can minimize what they’re doing and seem productive.

Teachers cannot afford to be oblivious to what is happening in their classrooms. They also cannot be oblivious to a tool that will make class more interactive.

If they want students to come in and pretend to take notes with their laptops open, then teachers need to keep things the same. But if they want to redirect the class back to the subject being taught, they need to step up and figure out how to make these Web sites work for them.

Being able to answer multiple students’ questions through social networking and micro-blogging is more beneficial to the class than watching a teacher converse with the student who always their hand up. It would also give teachers the benefit of knowing what they will be asked before it is displayed for the whole class. They can also make better use of lonely office hours, and post something to enrich the studies of their students.

This responsibility is not only on the teachers’ shoulders. Students need to find a way to use these Web sites to benefit their academic life, not just their social life.

The computer is not a toy. Get off the free games that are online and pay attention. No one cares about your high scores in Tetris; they care about your GPA. People have devoted their lives to this information.

The focus should no longer be on just textbooks, nor the short amount of time spent in class, nor your notes and spiral notebooks. These Web sites are still new and don’t have to be a distraction. If used correctly, they will make classrooms more interactive.

So Twitter in church. Twitter in class. Twitter at work. Twitter in the bathroom. Why? Because people are changing how they interact with one another, and students need to keep up.

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