Twitter finds a place in the classroom

Social media and education
Students tap away at their cell phones, laptops and iPads during Enrique Legaspi’s high-tech history lesson. A technology enthusiast, Legaspi learned how to incorporate the social network into his 8th-grade curriculum while attending the annual Macworld convention in San Francisco earlier this year. “I had an aha moment there,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘This is going to really engage my students.”Teachers across the country have been incorporating Twitter into classrooms for a few years, but the site’s adoption by educational institutions appears to be limited. A survey of 1,920 U.S. teachers published in April found that 2% of them use the micro-blogging site in college lectures. About half those polled said the use of Twitter and Facebook in class is harmful to the learning experience, according to the study from consulting firm Pearson Learning Solutions. Still, Legaspi is hopeful. When he explained the plan to his students at Hollenbeck Middle School in East Los Angeles, he learned that only one of them had used Twitter. But most, he said, live on their phones. So getting them started wasn’t difficult. Students who don’t have Internet-connected gadgets of their own can use the class computers. A teacher for eight years, Legaspi said experience has taught him that a small group of students tend to dominate classroom discussions. During the seminar at Macworld, other teachers reported seeing broader student participation through Twitter.
Source:, June 9, 2011


@Barackobama is very arrogant

Twitter as research material
The rogue actor Charlie Sheen is energetic, analytical by nature, arrogant and a little depressed. This is not very surprising. What is surprising is that he is a lot like Barack Obama. Who also scores high on energy, arrogance, analysis and depression. On the site you can discover the characteristic traits of these men on the basis of what they (or their press officers) twitter.

If you look at Britney Spears’ twitter account you can see that she is depressed and scores high on the ‘Valley Girl’ scale, stereotype of rich, hedonistic, American West Coast Girls. The British tabloid The Sun is energetic, angry and socially Concerned; The New York Times scores lower than average on all the characteristics. It seems like a gimmick, but the site is based on many years of serious research. The American James Pennebaker, a psychologist at the University of Texas, found that you can discover the characteristics of someone based on what they write. Phrases like “life treats me great”, or “destroy everyone” don’t matter as much as the frequency of little words like ‘I’ and ‘you’, the number of syllables in a word, the length of sentences, words referring to the here and now or the particularly to the past.
Source:, March 29, 2011