Twitter–The Difference Between “Cheating” and “Ingenuity”
Posted January 13, 2011on:
To show the difference between “cheating” and “ingenuity” when it comes to using Twitter, I will present the following two cases:
Case 1: Tomorrow, you have to write an in-class essay discussing two of the major themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. Using Twitter, you ask others to help you identify and analyze the major themes in the book. You ‘copy and paste’ some of these responses onto Microsoft Word and memorize them exactly. Then, you write them word-for-word when you come to class the next day.
You just cheated…but how? You used somebody else’s work as your own. In a sense, you plagiarized. You copied EXACTLY what you saw online, and gave your resources absolutely no credit for their outstanding ideas. I am not criticizing the use of Twitter in any means, but I am considering your use of Twitter as irresponsible and wrong. Now consider the second case.
Case 2: Tomorrow, you have to write an in-class essay discussing two of the major themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. Using Twitter, you ask others to help you identify and analyze the major themes in the book. You read many of the responses that you have just received, and resort back to the book for evidence. After an hour of research and re-reading, you gain a deeper and richer understanding of the book’s major themes. You type your new ideas in your own words and memorize what you had just written.
You just demonstrated ingenuity…but how? Unlike the previous scenario, you did not copy the results from Twitter word-for-word. Instead, you took the time to read many of the responses, search for evidence and insight in the book, and write a coherent essay demonstrating your own thoughts. Even though you also memorized what you had just written, your words are your own. Twitter is very useful when it comes to finding new resources and ideas, but do not thank Twitter. Thank yourself…because you solved your problem in a creative, collective, and FAIR manner.