One of the most interesting things going on during the BibleTech09 conference was the undercurrent of conversation going via twitter during the sessions. It was at that time that I thought Twitter could be an incredible tool for encouraging conversation during a learning event like a class or seminar. I’m already hoping to encourage people with ABCNJ to use hashtags to tweet at our annual gathering – becuase it’s instant, and usually relevant feedback to the event.
Well, it looks like I’m not the only one who’s figured out that Twitter can be useful in a learning environment. Cole W. Camplese, who is the director of education-technology services at Pennsylvania State University at University Park actually teaches using two screens. The first shows his content, the second follows the twitter stream for his class. Basically, he’s telling his students to pass notes. Think it was a mess waiting to happen? Think again, read this paragraph from the article,
Once students warmed to the idea that their professors actually wanted them to chat during class, students begin floating ideas or posting links to related materials, the professor says. In some cases, a shy student would type an observation or question on Twitter, and others in the class would respond with notes encouraging the student to raise the topic out loud. Other times, one of the professors would see a link posted by a student and stop class to discuss it.
That is exactly my experience with Twitter in a learning environment. Almost contrary to logic (that distractions are bad), an active twitter stream actually encourages reflection during a lecture, lesson, or seminar. It creates a virtual space where people can interact with material on a different level – particularly people who aren’t typically agressive engough to raise their observations when using other group learning tools like small groups. Try it, you’ll like it – oh, and feel free to tweet during my sermons, I’ll even give you a hashtag to follow – #WezloSermons.
There, have fun – start tweeting.