Professor Serves as Panelist at Twitter Conference

PATCHOGUE, NY – December 9, 2009 – Professor Thomas Whitby, English lecturer in the Department of Secondary Education at St. Joseph’s College, recently participated in the second international 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) in Los Angeles, CA on October 28, 2009. Mr. Whitby, who represented the College by sitting on the Educators’ Panel, discussed the role of Twitter in schools and its impact on the education system.

The Educators’ Panel included St. Joseph’s own Mr. Whitby along with three other members: Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School in New Jersey, Shelly S. Terrell, an English language teacher in Germany and Steven W. Anderson, an educator in South Carolina. In keeping with the brevity of Twitter, the discussion was only fifteen minutes long, during which time panelists addressed the opportunities Twitter offers to educators, students and parents. Thousands of teachers around the world connect through the Web site, share resources and discuss common issues.

“These people are changing education as we know it,” said Mr. Whitby. “They are taking it upon themselves to learn the new tools that are out there and apply them in the classroom. Social media enables students to go out beyond what the teacher doesn’t know. They have no limitations.”

The Los Angeles Conference was the second #140conf held this year; the first took place in New York City this past June. The original focus of the Conference was to explore the effects of Twitter on celebrity — specifically, as it relates the media, advertising and politics — however, the topics quickly expanded to include sports, music, the arts, sciences and more. Additional #140conf events have been held in London and Tel Aviv; and the next one will take place in London on January 21, 2010.

Mr. Whitby began utilizing Twitter in 2008, and now has a personal following of almost 3,000 educators. After enlisting the help of several other teachers to develop an educator chat group, he began #Edchat, a weekly discussion group among hundreds of educators from around the world on various topics relating to education. The group, which uses a Twitter Poll, a feedback tool to conduct polls/surveys on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to determine discussion topics, has become highly popular and successful among its followers. Mr. Whitby has since created a separate Web site, The Educators’ PLN: The Personal Learning Network for Educators, to post useful comments and resources, which has become a source for over 1,600 educators worldwide.

To view the #140conf educator’s panel discussion, visit vimeo.com/7475583. For more information about The Educators’ PLN: The Personal Learning Network for Educators, visit edupln.ning.com.


About St. Joseph's College

St. Joseph's College has been dedicated to providing a diverse population of students in the New York metropolitan area with an affordable education rooted in the liberal arts tradition since 1916. Independent and coeducational, the College provides a strong academic and value-oriented education at the undergraduate and graduate levels, aiming to prepare each student for a life characterized by integrity, intellectual and spiritual values, social responsibility, and service. With campuses located in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn and in Patchogue, Long Island, the College offers degrees in more than 29 majors, special course offerings and certificates, affiliated and pre-professional programs.

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