The Chronicle of Higher Education posted an interesting article on professors using mediums like Twitter and Facebook in the classroom. Sugato Chakravarty, a professor of consumer sciences and retailing at Purdue University, is testing a software called Hotseat that allows students to posts questions from their cell phones or laptops via Facebook or Twitter.
The results of the experiment are definitely mixed. In some lectures, students take control and post questions that are off topic, often taking the lecture in an unexpected direction. These unexpected questions can often lead to great learning opportunities. However, Charkravarty has also caught a student cheating by posting a question to a classmate during a quiz. (The student thought the posting would be anonymous, but requiring students to log in allowed Chakravarty to track the post.)
This is definitely taking teaching in a new direction and allowing professors to reach students through a medium they are comfortable with. Some professors see this experiment as “potential for disaster,” but isn’t that part of the educational process?