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College Courses on Twitter, 'Guitar Hero' -- Dumb or Smart Trend?



Media outlets love headlines like 'University Teaches Twitter 101' or 'Facebooking Now Part of Curriculum.' Usually, though, such claims of kids being taught to tweet are sensationalized. It is true, though, that schools are increasingly looking towards new media to study the way we communicate. Take for instance Chicago's DePaul University and its course on modern journalism. The class, titled 'Digital Editing: From Breaking News to Tweets,' isn't talking solely about Twitter, but about the changing landscape of news reporting.

Similarly, New York University is currently offering a course featuring 'Guitar Hero.' But don't assume students are learning how to rock using the plastic axes; Professor Gary Marcus is interested in how 'Guitar Hero' affects human cognition, telling NBC New York that "video games are an understudied area." Parents are nonplussed, reportedly irritated by the idea of shelling out $50,000 a year to see their kid do what he or she would do at home, anyway.

Obviously, in the opinions of many parents who studied Chaucer or economics in college, studying 'frivolous' activities like Twitter or 'Guitar Hero' doth not an education make. But, students continue to absorb pop culture, view it through an academic lens, and, as a result, better understand the world around them -- albeit their world, not Shakespeare's.

Switched staffer Terrence O'Brien studied best-sellers in 'Coming of Age Literature,' editor Joshua Fruhlinger took 'Cyberpunk Lit,' and this writer took plenty of 'silly' classes, like 'Gender and Slasher Films' and 'Kung Fu Cinema.' Web 2.0 applications and video games are a real, relevant, and evolving part of the average student's day, and to ignore that in the classroom, we think, is to forgo new learning opportunities. Teaching kids to think critically about their daily activities is a wonderful thing. At the same time, let's hope not everyone ends up with a Ph.D. in texting. [From: NBC New York]

Tags: backtoschool, bts, college, communications, education, guitar hero, GuitarHero, journalism, pop culture, PopCulture, schools, students, twitter, university

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