Lately I've been skeptically musing over the academic and professional value
of Twitter. What exactly is the educational value of a 140 character message? The Twitter Book has me
convinced it's time to dive in...
It's deceptively simple, really: Send a short message (140
characters max), from your cell phone or web-connected computer. Anyone
"following" you will see your message. One way to imagine it, I suppose, is to
compare it to those annoying banners that go flying by at the bottom of your
television screen while you watch the news. But O'Reilly and Milstein point out
that the "news feed" analogy is short-sighted - it's really more about
conversation and collaboration.
So when is real-time information and sharing like this
valuable in a learning setting? Aside from the obvious "instructors sharing
tips with one another", I'm already uncovering some interesting example of
a new "channel" for student participation. One example is The Twitter
Experiment from Dr. Monica
Rankin, Professor of History at the University
of Texas in Dallas (her 5 minute video is embedded below):
- Large classroom (or
conference) Q&A. I've seen this at education conferences - it's very
engaging and makes the post-keynote Q&A much more lively
- Support real-time
collaboration among a group of students (during field trips, on scavenger
So, I've decided jump into the twitter-sphere (or whatever it's
being called!). I'm not sure what exactly will happen, but I'm sure it will be
an adventure. If you'd like to follow my adventure, feel free to set up your
own twitter account and then "follow" me (http://twitter.com/jgvanides).
I'm sure there are many more ideas out there for using
twitter to support teaching and learning. If you know of some, feel free to
send me a "tweet" @jgvanides...!
Jim Vanides, B.S.M.E, M.Ed.
Worldwide Education Programs
HP Global Social Investment
For information about the HP Global Social Investments, visit www.hp.com/hpinfo/grants