Thursday, 4 June 2009

The Twitter Wave and Twitter in the Classroom

The word of this week is shaping up to be Twitter. First there is a very interesting post on ReadWriteWeb titled Anatomy of a Blog Post Well Received, and then after a bit of scouting around I stumbled across Classroom Twitter.

Let's start with ReadWriteWeb. They state that "one month ago Monica Rankin posted a video to YouTube about how she uses Twitter in her classroom at the University of Texas... It's a very good video, so [ReadWriteWeb] wrote a blog post about it that saw an unusually high (12,000) views within 24 hours. [They] decided to pay very close attention to where those readers came from,... and some unexpected trends emerged from the data."

As you can see in the following graph, most of the views came from Twitter. So as ReadWriteWeb ask "Is Twitter becoming a meaningful source of traffic?" For the rest of the findings and comments go to "Anatomy of a Blog Post Well Received".

While the comments on how people are using finding and sharing information is indeed very interesting (especially for a librarian), Monica Rankin's video on using Twitter in the classroom at the University of Texas is also worth checking out.

It is interesting to hear that both the teacher and students see Twitter as a tool that helps democratise the classroom. As an aside, it will be interesting to see if Twitter takes off as a tool to help within distance education programmes.

There seems to be a common thread among the teachers using Twitter that they have been "trying to figure out just how we might use it" (it being Twitter), and people are as a result coming up with different approaches. For example, H Songhai (who's Wordle I am using) has a good post titled Classroom Twitter in which he says he uses Twitter to:

* Students use Twitter to mark themselves present
* Students and teacher use Twitter to send each other direct messages
* Students use twitter to list what they accomplished in class that day

But it is not all a bed of roses for Twitter. The Gartner Group has identified the beginnings of a possible Twitter Backlash which even includes spike in Google Trends for Twitter sucks. What will the future hold for Twitter?

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