Twitter in Education - Follow-up

Several comments to my previous post addressing the educational uses of Twitter deserve mention. As a result of their comments, I am far more inclined to tweet with my students than I was in the past.

  • Thom Allen and Julie Lindsay bring up the fact that in Twitter you're only allowed 140 characters per post. In thinking about using Twitter as a storytelling tool, I think that this limit might be a good thing. How many students do you know that freeze when they're presented with a blank piece of paper and asked to write? Perhaps with this limit, some students won't feel as much pressure in writing - anyone can write 140 characters, but writing pages might be difficult.
  • Thom continues, "What do you get from Twitter that you couldn't get with MSN or Yahoo! messenger systems?" To this, my one-word response is "boundaries" (the 140 character limit) - again, boundaries aren't always bad. In elaborating, however, I must confess that I prefer Twitter to traditional chat. The reason I prefer Twitter is because of it's un-intrusive nature. Have you ever been working hard on something only to be interrupted by someone wanting to chat at length with you? Twitter is great because you are "chatting", but only with those that want to listen - there is no pressure to return tweets upon receiving them from your friends.
  • Julie's work with the Horizon Project is amazing! They're using Twitter "to facilitate communication between students in different countries. Twitter allows them post regular updates on what they have been working on as an addition to their wiki discussion tab messages. See HERE and HERE." Way too cool! I love seeing the student wikis full of Twitter badges!
  • Finally, Rahhb (no link provided) brings up a fascinating scenario:
"Imagine a professor taking both direction of discussion and questions from his class via twitter. Display the tweets on the prof's screen so they can see what's next, or if people agree. Distance-learning is instantly enabled so that class members who may be dialed in audibly or via video can reply and respond and communicate without additional hardware/software."
Too much fun - way too easy. Thank you, Rahhb, Julie, and Thom - your insights are invaluable.

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