Saturday, October 17, 2009

Live Tweeting Makes Learning more Lively

It took me a while to join the Twitter bandwagon. I didn't understand it, couldn't wrap my arms around it. It was foreign to me, and I couldn't grasp the significance and was oblivious to the relevance .

Note: For a great application of using Twitter for learning, read this review of the L2 Social Media Graph at George Washington University.

Then why is it that today, I tweeted almost the entire class presentation, all 90 minutes of it, even the one that I gave? On this drizzling Friday, a day that I was actually happy to be sitting in class looking out the dreary window from time to time, listening to the Best Buy presentations (all 5 of them) over and over again, I made a dramatic decision to stay engaged.

But as much as my sleepy-stained eyes and my brain-fried, body-weary self could tolerate, I had to pinch myself to stay focused. That's when I realized the potential and unleashed the power of the Twitter-enabled backchannel. When I started tweeting in class, just by virtue of the fact that I was typing in permanence, I was conscientious of what I put down, even if no one bothered to look.

By making of-the-cuff comments of what the speaker was discussing (discreetly, of course), I was able to engage both sides of my brain completely, as if I was having a discussion with the speaker as well as the rest of the class. In a sense, it was backchannel brainstorming, leveraging on real-time online conversation alongside real-world live spoken remarks. It may seem rude and indifferent, but I'm becoming more and more convinced, that in this new world digital age, it's becoming more and more standard and collaborative.

When tweeting in class, don't forget to create and use a hash tag.  Let everyone in class know what it is and of course, inform the professor.  And the best thing -- one doesn't even need to be present to engage in live tweets.

On this rainy and long class day, no other classmate bothered and was even aware that I was talking with them.

But if by chance, some of them would hop on the Twitter backchannel bandwagon in the future, receiving real-time feedback from them would be critical in enhancing the total classroom learning experience, and would also serve as an immediate critique for the lecturer once he/she gets back from the podium.

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