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Yes, Twitter really is worth the trouble

Our resident student blogger, Zack Whittaker, asked a question this morning that caught my eye: "Twitter: is there any point?" My answer, as a growing devotee of Twitter and other bits of social media is, "Of course there's a point!

Our resident student blogger, Zack Whittaker, asked a question this morning that caught my eye: "Twitter: is there any point?" My answer, as a growing devotee of Twitter and other bits of social media is, "Of course there's a point!"

Even for Ed Tech, I maintain that Twitter, and Twitter-like services, can have a lot of value. Imagine during a lecture a Twitter feed from the class so that questions and clarifications can be posted in real time? I have let high school students use it for group projects and class work time, throwing out ideas, thoughts, and questions for their classmates. Even now, the students I've introduced to Twitter use it for crowdsourcing.

In fact, start following the right people and you can have a steady stream of data, links, thoughts, and ideas flowing through whatever Twitter client you might like to use. Again, as we try to emphasize 21st Century skills for our students, the ability to take a tool like Twitter, and, instead of firing out random junk about the Starbucks at which you're having a double skinny tall mocha with extra whipped cream, use it to exchange business information becomes very attractive.

Follow @chrisbrogan (go to http://twitter.com/chrisbrogan and follow his feed; @chrisbrogan is twitterspeak for, well, Chris Brogan), for example. Chris Brogan is something of a Twitter God and has a darn fine sense of where social media are headed. Following the feeds of folks like him, or anyone else with some expertise in your area of interest is a great way to get links and information in tiny bursts.

Is Twitter the killer app for education in 2009? No, of course not. There are too many other tools, in and out of the Enterprise/Web 2.0 space that have much more direct impact on what we do. However, Twitter, and tools like it that will continue to emerge, are tools worth watching. Education 2.0 is still coming into focus; we need to see where microblogging actually fits. For now, I'm going to keep tweeting.