TAMPA, FL – As the evermore popular Twitter social networking tool infiltrates society, one Tampa, FL teacher is using it to teach her students, 140 characters at a time.
“I was having a hard time keeping the kids awake through my lessons on Shakespeare, so I took to condensing his works into Tweets,” explained Marjorie Lansing, a tenth-grade English teacher at Chamberlain High School. “They seem to dig it. And it’s a lot better than the hokey reenactments I would do in class.”
Boiling down an entire play to Twitter’s confining structure is no easy task, though.
Romeo and Juliet, for instance, is reduced to: “Romeo falls n luv w/ Juliet. J's 'rents protest. J feigns suicide. R sees her, snuffs it. J snuffs it. Rival families weep, cease feud. End.”
“You get all the important parts in a short little burst,” Lansing explained, “and none of the verbose linguistic self-satisfying nonsense that Shakespeare peppered his works with.”
When asked if this oversimplification of such a timeless classic as Romeo and Juliet is only helping to destroy the attention span of America’s youth, Lansing stated that “keeping it real with today’s kids means playing the game at their level. If they’re dumber for it, who cares?”
Lansing’s students unanimously approve of her method, citing Charles Bukowski’s assertion that true genius is in the ability to explain something complicated in the shortest, simplest way.
Twitter seems to agree, and is launching a sister-site, TwitterU, to be used by universities to make a college education a reality for even the most uninitiated.
“We saw the popularity and legitimacy of online degrees from such institutions as the University of Phoenix, and figured our model is a great way to cash in on the trend,” explained Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. With many top-tiered universities signing on for the Beta model, Dorsey’s TwitterU may be a smart gamble.
Arthur MacDonald, Professor of philosophy at the University of Washington, however, disagrees. “To truly learn something takes more than 140 characters,” MacDonald argues. When asked to expound upon that, he politely declined.
TwitterU is set to launch in August.
Marjorie Lansing’s Tweets can be followed @MarjLansing on Twitter.
[• This story, marked with a • is weekend entertainment content only and should not to be considered factual ]