I posted last week about "educators trying to exploit Twitter-like technology to enhance classroom discussion." In the mean time I've been following the response to the New York Times article that spurred my post.
Harvard Business Review's blog, The Conversation chimed in this week as well with the opinion that, "The project is well-intentioned: they wanted to get kids more comfortable with speaking up by giving them digital tools to do so. The trouble is, now the kids are staring at screens all day instead of interacting with each other or the teacher."
With the rise of teams, work today is more social than ever. Good collaboration is critical to success, yet collaboration requires carefully navigating complex social undercurrents to get things done. Conflict is only ever a poorly written email away. With less time being spent in 'real time' with others, our social circuitry may be less developed than we need to get work done efficiently.
I agree with the point that teamwork is especially important. Teams are a major part of the UST MBA program. That's why I wouldn't suggest a program like ours could be conducted entirely on-line or in back channels. These tools are just one additional way that students and teachers--or colleagues and counterparts--can communicate together.