Is Twitter useful for education?

17/12/2008

I still haven’t found anyone who’s using Twitter for anything educational. Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross update theirs regularly. One or two of my twitter mates say some alarmingly frank things on their posts, possibly not realising how public it can be but it hasn’t changed anything much for me yet.

But it feels democratic and  requires very little commitment so it’s not too much to ask. The obvious advantages are that it can be free and it can broadcast to many followers with one click. Still, I’m curious about what a 140-character broadcast can do that a text message can’t. 

Maybe it is that very constraint. Text messages can go on and on. Twitter is strict. It could be a great lesson in the power of less being more.

One use could be in literacy, like a haiku lesson. Can you make up a poem or a story based entirely on 140-character chunks?

Can you write explanations for a complex game or route?

Can you summarise the most important aspect of an idea within the 140-character constraints?

Can you write a story Tweet by Tweet? Like a variation on old parlour games where you contribute a sentence each to a story. One difference here is that your contributors can be far-flung.

Can you write a review of a poem or a book in that space?

One way might be to set up a Twitter Fest on a whiteboard, looking at a poem or an extract and then gathering a 140-character post from every pupils summarising its meaning or mood? Even better if the Twitters could create a cloud of meaning making an immediate visual impact on the board.

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Pendeford AS Media – What makes a good media employee?

07/12/2008

Yesterday I visited Pendeford High School in Wolverhampton to deliver a presentation to the lovely AS students. This was partly inspired by the ever-cheerful and proactive Nicky Ball at Screen Yorkshire who gave her time so generously when she described how she made students aware of what it’s really like working in the media.
She set me off thinking what I would describe as essential skills and I surprised myself when I realised how low down the list skills and knowledge were. The vital skills on my list were all personal, social and transferable skills.
It’s possible I just take knowledge and technical skills for granted as everyone I’ve ever worked with has them in spades. But what differentiates the ones I want to work with and the ones I consider great, from the ones I don’t, is the following:

Be fearless
Work well in a team of strangers
Be flexible
Be open to new experiences
Ask questions
Be a radiator not a drain
Take responsibility for your actions

What makes a bad colleague?

Not getting your hands dirty
Offending others unnecessarily
Being passive aggressive
Being passive
Being aggressive
Not being straight/honest/clear
Being lazy
Being unable to get what you want

They’re probably just general life skills for anyone, but they seem to me to make the difference between the successful production team and the unsuccessful.