SJC Professor Participates in 140 Character Conference

PATCHOGUE, NY – May 3, 2010 – Professor Thomas Whitby, English lecturer in the Department of Secondary Education at St. Joseph’s College, has once again participated in the 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) in New York City on April 21. Mr. Whitby, who represented the College by sitting on the Educator’s Panel, discussed the role of Twitter in schools and its impact on the education system. He attended a previous #140conf in October 2009, in Los Angeles, California.

The Educator’s Panel included Mr. Whitby along with three other members: Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School in New Jersey; Kyle Pace, an instructional technology specialist in Kansas City, Missouri; and Steven W. Anderson, an educator in South Carolina. In keeping with the brevity of Twitter, the discussion was only 20 minutes, during which time panelists addressed the benefits of incorporating social networking tools into the classroom. Panelists all agreed that embracing Twitter and other social media sites would improve student learning.

“There is a generational gap here,” said Mr. Whitby. “Older teachers had a choice to use or not use technology because, when they were growing up, technology was still developing. Kids today don’t have that choice. We have to teach them what is going to be relevant for them, and if they are not competent using technology, they are not going to be successful.”

The first #140conf was held in New York City in June 2009. Since its launch, conferences have taken place in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Tel Aviv. The original focus of the Conference was to explore the effects of Twitter on celebrity, particularly the media, advertising and politics, but the topics quickly expanded to include sports, music, the arts, sciences and more. Two upcoming Conferences will be held in Washington D.C. on June 17 and Tel Aviv on July 6.

Mr. Whitby began utilizing Twitter in 2008, and he now has a personal following of more than 3,000 educators. He enlisted the help of several other teachers to develop an educator chat group, called #Edchat. Each week, hundreds of educators from around the world participate in two discussions on various topics relating to education. Mr. Whitby has since created a separate website, The Educator's PLN: The Personal Learning Network for Educators, to post useful comments and resources, which has become a source for more than 1,600 educators worldwide. Mr. Whitby requires his SJC students to use Twitter and other various social media sites to connect with other experienced educators.

To view the #140conf educator’s panel discussion or for more information on The Educator’s PLN: The Personal Learning Network for Educators, visit

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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