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Twitter for 1st Graders?

The Chicago Tribune has a story on the apparently growing use of Twitter in 1st grade classrooms. According the article, some early-grades teachers have their students using the micro-blogging tool, as well as other kid-friendly blogging programs, to do things like send daily updates to parents or share ideas and stories with classmates.

Educators quoted in the article say using blogging and secure social-media platforms helps even very young students become more engaged in writing and begin to get a grasp on today's diverse forms of communication.

Younger students are "going to have an entire life that exists on the Internet in the virtual world," says one school technology specialist. "They need to understand the difference between the different social media tools. Starting in first grade—I don't see any negative."

It's a compelling idea, surely. But I was surprised that the story didn't provide the perspective of anyone who is skeptical of the value of this sort of trend (even as it cites the favorable view of a school-technology entrepreneur). Surely there are at least some trade-offs or concerns. What are your thoughts?

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