Thursday, July 30, 2009

Micro blogging - Twitter

I've decided to take the plunge into Twitter, to see if it is a Web 2.0 tool that can be applied to the ePortfolio process. I signed up for Twitter in early 2008, because my first tweet was about preparing for my last trip to Hawaii... then I forgot all about it until NECC 2009, where it seemed to be the social networking tool of choice this year; so I wrote a second tweet about being at NECC with my daughter. In the last week, David Wicks encouraged me to try Twitter (see my last blog entry), so I decided to start learning. I found a SlideShare Twitter workshop (with link to YouTube videos) and another tutorial presentations that are good at explaining the process and how to interpret a tweet.

I am concerned about the 140 character limit of a tweet... Is that really appropriate for reflection? Does it just encourage short, shallow writing, compared to the deeper dialogue that can be facilitated using a blog or wiki? I am able to interpret the unique language of Twitter, but also realize there is a learning curve and a protocol to be learned. I forget my early experiences with Blogger more than five years ago, so I don't know if the blogging process is easier. I figured out how to post URLs to a tweet, so I set up an account on bit.ly to accompany my Twitter account and keep track of all of the URLs that I include. Now I am exploring the educational applications of this tool. I found a cute news video about a kindergarten class using Twitter in Seattle. It seems like the power of Twitter is the critical mass of users (like Facebook for social networking), but what about privacy of K-12 students? I also want to explore Edmodo, a micro-blogging application for K-12 students and teachers, which was created to address this issue.
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2 comments:

Knaus said...

I'm a big fan of Twitter in education. It's not blogging. Blogging is in-depth.

Here are my thoughts:

1. Use Twitter as a type of brainstorming where you post thoughts. Then you go back and look at your tweets and choose one to write more about in a blog.

2. You use Twitter as professional development. You find people like you on Twitter, follow them, and take what they know and learn. I've learned so much this way. of course, you need to contribute to the discussion as well.

*The 140 character limit is outstanding! Let me repeat: Outstanding. Teacher, believe it or not, can be long winded and wordy. Limiting yourself to 140 is a challenge. I've rewritten tweets many times to be more concise and to the point. If only my 4 year old was limited to 140 characters when he talked, or my 9th grade English teacher.

Jump in with both feet and you love it. Feel free to follow me. I'm @learnteachtech. I also suggest you look at www.teachpaperless.com, he's done a ton with Twitter in his high school classroom.

Have fun!

higherlearner said...

Hi Helen,

For me tweeting is all about recording thoughts 'on-the-hoof', or reflection-in-action as Schon would say.

I'm experimenting with its use for international students on Masters HE programmes, to encourage them to write and reflect.

I believe that tweets should be raw and un-edited to capture the moment, a bit like writing a stream of conciousness. I can then use my blog to refine and edit as appropriate.

Keep tweeting

Richard aka higherlearner