Wednesday, June 24, 2009

11.5: Thing #5 - Microblogging

I have really gotten into a post about a student Twittering in a college class and the professor's reaction. What I've most enjoyed are the comments in reaction to the post. What a GREAT discussion! (I got there from the ...can I Twitter that post linked on the Thing #5 page.) The discussion/debate is really rich. I can see exactly the same thing happening in high school.

It's the idea of taking notes in a collaborative environment, of sharing the learning process, of the process being visible that I like. Backchanneling or live blogging or Twittering during the workshop, the lecture, the class means the student is engaged in the learning process. Isn't that a good thing? How could a teacher not like that?

I, personally, do not believe kids will be more off-task with technology than they are without it. I also believe that teachers must take responsibility for off-task behavior. Really good, engaging instruction solves the problem in many many many cases.

I got on FB because we were talking about it a lot in SBISD. I wanted to catch up. I also have a 13 year-old and needed to be an informed parent. It came in handy to prepare for my 20th HS reunion, as that's who the majority of my friends are. I'm still trying to work out how to use it professionally. I do have a colleague who tends to be more responsive to his FB inbox than his ISD in box!

I'm a definitive newbie. I'm atxteacher. I don't understand how to follow a thread of discussion. Or how to search. I'm not confident with re-tweeting, either. Twitter seems to have a whole unique language that I don't know. I'm sure it's like many other things, I just need to invest some time and practice. It may be that my network isn't large enough. I'm only following 13 folks, but I have 25 followers. Many of the followers I don't know, but maybe they're trying me out. It makes me feel like I should say really important things.

I've read about Tweetdeck and some other applications related to Twitter. I'm wondering if one of these could help me get more out of Twitter. I also think I'd get more out of it if I had a PDA to check and create updates. I've resisted the urge to get an iPhone - I just can't swallow the extra $30/month for data services.

I didn't know I that can Twitter by text message - even with a plain mobile phone. Here's how. That's something I might try out! I've set up my account so only the Tweets of a couple of the folks I follow will be sent to my phone. I can always go in and turn them off - even from my phone. I may get much better at texting with my plain old Nokia!

Following @joelmcintosh is helpful. He's the publisher of Prufrock Press and tweets about all kinds of things from Prufrock discounts and new web resources, to day-to-day experiences.

From a post by @RussGoerend, I found a wiki devoted to documenting what people have learned from Tweets. It's new and worth a glance.

I think there's real potential here. I introduced teachers to TodaysMeet in our June 11th professional development. It wasn't used a lot, but may grow with practice. I used two screens and two computers so the backchannel was visible to the whole group. I thought seeing it might help in the learning process. I'll definitely try it again. Here's a great blog post about using a backchannel with middle school students during a video presentation. Great idea!

1 comment:

VWB said...

I think setting up a big screen is the key to a really successful and useful back channel...but every attempt is a great way of getting people used to the idea...

P.S. I have enjoyed peeking in a little at you after hours in having fun with it...will keep Tweeter more "serious"!