Monthly Archives: May 2010

Bring on the Learning Revolution!

Sir Ken Robinson leads the charge for reform in education. This is a great sequel to his 2006 TED video on creativity in education.

Twitter for Higher Education

The Best Way to Get Started With Twitter; Just Jump In!

The Best Way to Get Going With Twitter. Just Jump In!

I have been using Twitter for a while now mainly for work purposes; teaching and researching within a bioscience environment. Twitter has been a useful of means of networking with like-minded colleagues in other institutions primarily on mattters of teaching and learning in higher education and extends conversations beyond those facilitated by face to face networking opportunities at conferences or other events.

I don’t follow a huge number of people neither do I have a huge following and I certainly don’t claim to be a “Twitter expert”. Sometimes I get questions on what Twitter is all about and the occasional admission from colleagues that they “just don’t get it”. With this in mind I supply the list below of my thoughts and tips after just over one year of tweeting.

    The best way to start is to jump right in. Register an account and get going.
    Follow an established tweeter (or lurk for a while if you are feeling shy) to see how the thing works.
    Make sure your profile is informative. If your username is very cryptic (like mine – PlanetChemistry) AND your picture is not of you or has not been updated at all users will not know who they are communicating with. Make sure you provide some information about yourself in the bio – concisely done in less than 160 characters.
    Contribute! Reply to other users’ comments and get involved; that’s the best way to build a network.
    Take a look at the people being followed by the people you follow as possible members of your network.
    Don’t rely on automatic tools to update your page. Feeds from your blog are fine so long as your Twitter page is not composed solely of them! Remember that Twitter is better for conversation: not broadcast!
    Use a tool like TweetDeck to help organise your followers and groups and so that you can keep a track of conferences and events through the use of #hashtags. Hashtags are short tags added to each tweet relevant to a conference or topic under discussion and allows relevant tweets to be aggregated together. For example, #edtech10 was the hashtag for the recent Irish Learning Technology Association conference and allowed the conversation around this event to be followed by delegates at the event and others participating remotely via Twitter.
    Enjoy it! Tweeting is about “networks not destinations” (@AJCann) so it’s an opportunity for you to collaborate online and extend your network on a regular basis.

You will soon discover that there are numerous things Twitter can be used for. No doubt I will add to the list above as the weeks go by.. but does anyone have anything else to say?

Picture Credit.

A Global Mobile Phone Orchestra?

The following video from Stanford University was recently brought to my attention by @ggrosseck on Twitter. This is an excellent example of an iPhone App used in a collaborative way, but the possibility of global networking is most impressive. While the application here applies to those in the music field no doubt this idea could be replicated by mobile learners in many different disciplines.

Time to Vote

Last week I was eavesdropping via Twitter on the #ESTICT (Engaging Students Through In Class Technology) event in Edinburgh on 29th April 2010.

I was impressed with the theme of the event which was electronic voting systems (EVS) particularly because of my own use of text message voting in a large year one lecture this academic year.

Though participating remotely I was able to be involved in some of the voting sessions using the ResponseWare App on my iPod Touch. The process worked extremely smoothly and underlined for me how such technologies could enhance participation and engagement when learners are geographically disparate and unable to vote using the traditional “in class” handset approach.

As learning becomes much more mobile so too must our assessment strategies and strategies for student engagement and participation. This can be achieved through iPhone/IPod Touch Apps and SMS messaging. But how do these compare with the traditional handset in class approach?

It’s time to vote! Let me know your view by commenting below.