Teaching and Learning With Twitter

Jennifer has made some very valid points following the TLt Summit 2008

In particular:

  • It is time to toss out the “blog, wiki, podcast” mantra. This is bigger than tools isolated for singular purpose. If we keep pushing the tools into categories, new users will continue to only use the tools for those purposes. We should be twisting, stretching and breaking these tools, not neatly packaging content with them.
  • and

  • A wiki is no place to start an intentional, sustainable community. I’ve always said this to my internal customers, but it has been based on my use of them. I’ve now heard many many people describe how the wiki did not work for creating a sustainable network. Let’s let it go, move on and get more creative with our wiki use.

I’d definitely agree with the point about wikis, that they aren’t that useful for community building; but that’s not to say they’re not useful. While I agree to a point about the “blogs/wikis/podcasts” point she makes, I do think that they do offer some form of structure to help people get going; yes, we can be creative with them, but some (?many) people need some ideas to help them get going. What’s probably useful is the range of ideas that can be shown to work with a particular tool (just as today most Powerpoint trainers encourage their users not to use bullet points & noisy text effects; but to look at all the other ways it can be used).

Jennifer also made a point about Twitter being in heavy use. I’ve decided to revitalise my account (can’t promise that I’ll use it for anything other than reading other people’s things mind), but I guess I ought to try to get into it. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never really taken to text messaging in a big way, that it doesn’t feel really “me” – nor do I use the status updates on Facebook. One of the reasons I don’t like Twitter is the fact I can’t subdivide contacts into smaller groups to send targetted messages, however, this blog doesn’t let me do that – and with RSS feeds people are getting the information whether they like it or not. It’s not as if the only way folks can read this is to come here.

I recently read a paper about people who read, rather than keep blogs. Wonder if anyone’s done any research into people who have a twitter a/c to follow others, rather than to be followed themselves. Is this stalking?

Via: Stephen Downes

4 thoughts on “Teaching and Learning With Twitter

  1. It takes quite a while to build up a Twitter network and use it to full potential. I spent many months mostly reading and spouting off things that no one found useful. Now that I have a lot of followers, I find I can quickly get answers to questions. I will use it before a Google search in many instances, because the responses come with peer commentary from people I trust and respect.
    I probably should expand on all my comments, but really just made that post hastily to get it all out of my head. I think maybe we should spend more time listening to instructors and helping them find the right tool, rather than teaching them all about blog/wiki/podcast and then expecting them to fit their instructional objectives into one of those tools. I think that rather than tell them they should be using those tools, we could find out more about how they teach and then show them how the tool will enhance learning. Thanks for linking and continuing this conversation!

  2. Well, I’m going to give twitter a go, and try to approach it positively; even though I can’t see it really being me!
    Do you tend to use it from the Web, or the phone interface? (I’d defintely be a web one)
    Defintely agree about finding out how people teach before getting them to use a particular tool! I guess I was encompassing that within the idea of showing people a range of ideas … it never entered my head that I *wouldn’t* start off by finding out the sort of things they were doing anyway, I kind of took that as read!

  3. I suppose so … I guess I just don’t want to have to follow yet another set of information …

    I have managed to get twitter onto my iGoogle home page, the problem is that I feel that if I start to add people into Twitter, I ought to remove some of the feeds from Google Reader, to reduce the volume of stuff. And at present, I like the set I’ve got in there!

    I’ll start to add people to Twitter, I guess, but stick to only reading it myself! It’s hard enough blogging 🙂

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