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Why Twitter is for the Birds

November 7, 2017 — 

“Technology is a trickster,” says Dr. Denis Hlynka [BSc/63, BEd/70], education professor in curriculum, teaching and learning at the University of Manitoba. “While it promises everything, it can also deliver the opposite.”

As part of the Joan Irvine Lecture Series, Hlynka is giving a presentation this week on what educational technology is doing for us and to us.

Hlynka is an expert in the use of technology in education, and studies how devices and programs such as computers, apps, Facebook and Twitter are being used by students and educators in the classroom. He questions whether learning is enhanced or detrimentally affected by the ease of communication and the distraction of the flow of information.

He explains: “Facebook and Twitter can produce bullying; hidden costs escalate as the promise of free access disintegrates; information becomes misinformation.”

Hlynka adds: “Technology in education is seemingly ubiquitous, yet any attempt at full implementation of a technological solution is doomed to failure. The University of Manitoba has always been watchful and respectful towards what technology does for us, but also carefully considers what technology does to us.”

“…any attempt at full implementation of a technological solution is doomed to failure.”

Irvine was a schoolteacher in rural Manitoba and became a member of the staff at the Manitoba Teachers’ College in 1964, joining the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba the next year when the College was closed and its staff was integrated with the University.

Irvine encouraged colleagues and students to render their best effort and she did so in a way that gave them confidence and satisfaction. She always had an eye on the objectives to be achieved. At the heart of her work was critical inquiry and she saw her teaching as providing an opportunity to help others question what they were doing. After her retirement, Irvine committed extensive effort to the development of the Early Years Program, engaged with faculty members in challenging discussions, worked with students to further their understanding of classroom issues, and helped the Faculty build closer ties with schools.

Hlynka says: “Using the phrase ‘Twitter is for the Birds’ metaphorically, my presentation explores not just Twitter and other social media, but educational technology from a critical perspective.”


What: Why Twitter is for the Birds

When: Thursday, November 9, 2017

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Where: Room 224, Education Building, Fort Garry Campus, U of M

  • RSVP optional at 474-9001.
  • Paid parking at University parkade.
  • Free parking available on campus at St. Andrew’s College.

For more information, contact:

Charlie McDougall, communications coordinator, Faculty of Education, 204 474 7402, or email: Charlie [dot] McDougall [at] umanitoba [dot] ca

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