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Posts Tagged ‘tweets

Who says that you cannot learn from tweets?

While some might seem to concentrate bile in 140 characters, the edu-Twitterverse distills wisdoms. Here are just two that I bookmarked recently.

Teaching is a social process, but that does not make it based on wishy-washy feel good ideas. Effective pedagogy is based on rigorous research and reflective practice.

Teaching Is about digging deep to figure out what is best for learners and how to improve learning. It is not about teaching the way you were taught and with your blinders on.

As I age, I can feel curmudgeonly cells coat the fibre of my being. So I was not surprised when I did not think highly of some weather-related tweets of STonline.

Am I becoming an old fart? No. I am one. But I am old enough to think young and season it with some wisdom.

Someone at the news agency probably thought that it would be harmless to let an intern take the helm of weather-related tweets. After all, this was not a breaking headline, serious news, or an editorial opinion. Since weather here is so meh, why not spice things up?

In the grand scheme of things, there was no foul and no harm. There were probably no feelings hurt and no political, religious, or other sensitive lines crossed.

But the weather tweet reports were still part of a larger whole — a serious newspaper. If the paper wanted to take itself less seriously, it should remember that it has a comics section and a humour column. Or at least I am assuming so because I do not actually read a paper newspaper anymore.

Might the newspaper be so out of touch that it did not learn the painful lesson from the @MOEsg attempts at entertaining by asking infantile riddles in 2013? Here is a selection I Storified.

Being funny is not easy.

It is an art.

It is contextual.

It is subjective.

It is a serious business.

The same could be said about those who teach. It might look easy if you think that teaching is standing in front of a classroom and just talking. Some folks do not talk; they still read off scripts.

It is one thing to teach, it is another to educate (what are some differences?). Like humour, educating is also an art.

Educators work with contexts, not just content.

Educators leverage on subjectivity instead of pretending there is only objectivity.

Education is a serious business. Many may be called to teach, but few can educate. Anyone who thinks or tells you otherwise does not understand what it means to be an educator.

I never thought I would ever type this: There are valuable lessons in Trump’s tweets.

I am not referring to learning how NOT to be inflammatory. I am thinking about how his tweets are good for discourse analysis. I am doing this thanks to this insightful video by Nerdwriter1.


Video source

The video creator did a great job of chunking Trump’s tweets by type and nuance in numbers, and analysing their design and impact.

I might use this video as a resource if I get a chance to work with a group of teachers who need to learn how to do discourse analysis for the purpose of narrative-style reporting and research writing.

If I do, this will show how one might learn from something negative.

Could there possibly be a lesson on teaching from the way Trump tweets?

There could, if you looked hard and reflectively enough.

I read a short article by TODAY, Donald Trump praises wrong Ivanka in Twitter shout-out, and was dissatisfied. I wanted to see the tweet embedded in the article itself, not just quoted as text. This would attribute and show the source.

But attributing and showing sources is not the lesson for teachers, important as those practices are.

I decided to look for another article and found one by The Guardian, Donald Trump mistakes Ivanka from Brighton for his daughter. This article not only provided the tweet source, it did so in entirety, including the graphic embedded in the tweet. The graphic put the point in the exclamation.

Teachers often have to make judgement calls in the race to complete curricula. One of the questions is: How much can I cover?

To answer this question with “as much and as quickly as possible”, the response is often to resort to favouring breadth over depth.

The TODAY article covered the story as did The Guardian. Even a superficial examination of both would reveal how much deeper the latter was. There was more information, background, and embedded content.

The Guardian article took more work, provided more information, and I would argue, educated its readers more the TODAY’s syndicated article.

It is up to us to decide not just what is better, but also what is right. There may be times when depth being sacrificed for breadth is justified, e.g., the topic is introductory.

However, if we are to nurture critical and reflective thinkers, our learners must be given the space and resources to do this. This happens only when we go deep enough in both the teaching and learning activities.

Bonus lesson: Trump made the mistake only because he replied to a tweet with the wrong Ivanka handle. If he paused to check, he would not have made that embarrassing mistake.

Group photo courtesy of @rachelhtan

Photo courtesy of @rachelhtan

A small group of #edsg regulars got together over the last quarter of 2014 to devise an online experiment for 2015. We call it our Thematic Tweets project.

This is my contribution:

We are doing this to market #edsg, to draw lurkers out into participating, and to create greater ownership of topics we might discuss.

I am doing this as a founding member of #edsg because I predict its demise. I have written about why some teachers do not tweet, and there is widespread documentation online about how Twitter is failing to recruit and then retain users.

That said, there are very passionate educators who participate in regional or international hashtagged tweet chats, often on a weekly basis. However, even a cursory content analysis might reveal limited social interaction. Audrey Watters wondered out loud if Twitter was the best option for online professional development. I have critiqued the processes and the pedagogy of Twitter chats.

What should be chats become proclamations. Where there should be interactions there are rhetorical projections. We want to avoid that in #edsg.

I still worry that #edsg as a community is on its last legs. Regulars leave, lurkers refuse to contribute, and trolls or spambots disrupt. Without the injection of fresh DNA and ideas, and the commitment of players to keep going, we might be the last of the Mohicans or the remaining white rhinos in a zoo.

I do not know if we will be successful with our project. I predict we will know by mid-2015 at the earliest or the end of the year at the most logical.

We will not know until we try, so try we will.

I am very selective of who I follow on Twitter. One account I follow is @ProblemaStudent.

This account seems to be half bot, half human. Some tweets seem scheduled and repeat based on odd patterns. But there are gems like the ones above.

The tweets are honest, and if you do not actually listen to your learners, you might imagine they would say things like these.

Which begs the question: Do you listen to your learners about how they learn?

You can grade tweets. But should you?

Trying to grade tweets is like grading a ‘live’ conversation or a transcription of one. It is very difficult to do because you have to do one or more forms of discourse analysis.

If you click here to read the responses to the original tweet, only one person so far asked WHY the teacher wanted to do this. The rest suggested half measures at best on HOW to collect and assess tweets.

If a teacher wants to grade tweets to ensure that students tweet, that is not a good enough reason. The same could be said for participating in LMS discussion forums.

Students going through the motions so that they are not penalized is not the same as learning. If you create a rubric or scoring system for tweets, then kids will learn to game the system. The point behind tweeting (e.g., summarizing, one-minute reflections, crystallizing key concepts) could be lost.

Teachers need to rethink why they want to grade discussions or tweets. After all, they do not necessarily assess group work conversations or other social interactions.

Social conversations are one way of making the processes of learning more transparent. These then lead to individually or collaboratively generated products of learning. The processes are harder to capture and evaluate; the products are not.

But there are other ways to record processes: Progress logs or reports, presentation of updates, behind-the-scenes or making-of videos, peer interviews, peer evaluations, and more. These are more timely, strategic, and more logical to manage.

Just because you can do something like grading tweets does not mean you should. You need to know why you are doing it and you must be able to justify the means to the ends.

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