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When will we start to care about web 2.0 terms of service?

Trying to read Twitter’s new terms of service I realized why I never look at this kind of documents. And I guess I’m not the only one who automatically press the acceptance button once the “Terms of service” screen appears…

This time I’ve make an exception and I’ve read it and tried to understand (but it’s so boring…) the text. Even there are many sections, there are two that draw my attention: Privacy and Your (my, our) rights (this one I’ll leave it for another day).  In order to try to keep loyal to the original source, I’ve decided that the best would be to copy-paste it here:


Any information that you provide to Twitter is subject to our Privacy Policy, which governs our collection and use of your information. You understand that through your use of the Services you consent to the collection and use (as set forth in the Privacy Policy) of this information, including the transfer of this information to the United States and/or other countries for storage, processing and use by Twitter. As part of providing you the Services, we may need to provide you with certain communications, such as service announcements and administrative messages. These communications are considered part of the Services and your Twitter account, which you may not be able to opt-out from receiving.

I don’t have a background in laws, so obviously there would be many aspects that I can easily misunderstand. However… shouldn’t there would be a limit of time for using and keeping our personal data once we’ve stopped using the service? If there isn’t any specification of a “deadline”, should I assume that twitter’s administrators will owe my personal information forever? I’f I’m not wrong, not very far ago people was complaining about Facebook terms of service because they said something as:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service.

Is Twitter doing the same? If so, should we care about it?

Anyway, may be the question is not about what exactly twitter and facebook are doing, but what is happening with users data, specially the personal information, in web 2.0 applications.

Digital Inmigrants’ fears

This post is intended to give some ideas – or may be just to think about- adults’ fears at the time of writing a blog. Trying to find an answer to what Sabine commented in her blog entry “Blogging in the education of adults?” I just ended reading about digital native versus digital inmigrants. Despite the term coined by Marc Prensky offers multiple lectures, it can be interesting to have a close look at the following definition: “The importance of the distinction is this: As Digital Immigrants learn – like all immigrants, some better than others – to adapt to their environment, they always retain, to some degree, their “accent,” that is, their foot in the past. The “digital immigrant accent” can be seen in such things as turning to the Internet for information second rather than first, or in reading the manual for a program rather than assuming that the program itself will teach us to use it. Today’s older folk were “socialized” differently from their kids, and are now in the process of learning a new language. And a language learned later in life, scientists tell us, goes into a different part of the brain.”

Marc Prensky quoted at Henry Jenkins’ blog

May be this can help understanding why sometimes new media tools, such as blogs, aren’t used taking into account what they really possibilite. Personally, I must confess I haven’t any experience in adults education (except some unsuccessful internet lessons to my father… 🙁

Anyway, what I feel is that the introduction of tools such as blogs, wikis or whatever you want with adults, should come together with a reflection of the medium. What are the differences between a blog and a website? Why is it worth using a blog in this context? Possibly, encouraging adults to struggle with technology is more difficult than motivating kids to do something with a computer. However, if we manage to make our adult students understand the possibilities of that tools we are showing them, we would have done a very important step in order to help them  face part of their fears.

Microblogging in education

If I had to summarize the aspects that I consider most defining of twitter, these are inmediacy and feedback. In consequennce, I also think these would be the traits that can be more unique at the time of aplying microblogging in education.

Even there are many articles suggesting ideas about how to use twitter in class, I prefer to skip the array of beneffits numerous professionals mention and concentrate in the few ideas and doubts I have about the use of microblogging for educational purposes. (Anyway, a good article where to find some interesting ideas could be in the Steve Wheeler’s post in his blog).

Briefly, my doubts about this tool deal about the specific contributions of twitter, among many others, to education.

Personally, the argument that something is exciting and motivating isn’t enough for me to decide use it at the class. To use someone’s else words, I quote the following extract from Tom Barrett’s blog
In my classroom and with the children I teach it has been an exciting tool to utilise and support learning. However it is one of many tools that we have at our disposal. I do not see it replacing any of the others we use nor do I see the positive impact upon learning being exclusive to Twitter.

So it’s possible to achieve same goals by other means, what’s exactly exclusive of twitter, or any other microblogging similar tool, that would justify the use of it? Shall teachers use new technologic tools in education just because they are motivating?

It has also been pointed out the possibilities of using twitter in order to get support at answering questions that may arise during the class time.

Peer support and exchange: during the lesson
While perusing the Tweets of other educators, I came across the idea of using Twitter as a back channel and realised this would be perfect for students like the one who wanted to ask a question without calling attention to herself. I also thought that the keeners would enjoy using this as a means of sharing or displaying their knowledge or moving ahead of the lesson with links and insights they might want to share with others.

Even it can be a good idea to use twitter to put questions, it can be trickier to use it at the same time the teacher is interacting with students. Are students and teachers prepared enough to face the multitasking skills that this kind of practices imply?