Starting a Twitter chat

Two months ago I became the manager of the Twitter account of the Mexican chapter of an international society. It has been a fun experience. I actually read the tweets of our followers, most of whom I follow back.

One day I posted an article (in Spanish) about one of our youngest members, who is 6 years old and has an IQ of 150. It included a video in which the boy answers questions. Someone replied, arguing that the boy was not a genius, that he was merely showing good memorization skills. I disagreed with his comment. However, instead of starting an argument with him, I conceded that intelligence is more than just memorizing. After that, I tweeted a question: What defines a genius?

I got lots of replies. Several interesting discussions arose from that simple question. Considering that one of the objectives of the group is to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members, it was a great activity.

And so I decided to start a Twitter chat. While I am familiar with some Twitter chats (e.g., #phdchat), there are not many in Spanish (none that I know of, actually). I had never moderated a Twitter chat before. Getting ready was a challenge.

Fortunately, I had help. I got some advice from Terese Bird (@tbirdcymru), Tony Ratcliffe (@AERatcliffe), and Nasima Riazat (@NSRiazat). I defined some steps to follow:

  1. Decide the basics. The goal of the chat is to generate intellectually stimulating discussions between members and the general community. I set up a hashtag (#mensachat) and tweeted about it.
  2. Get people involved. I asked our Twitter followers for schedule and topic suggestions.
  3. Make sure the conversation can get going. I got a small core group together, members who agreed to participate.
  4. Explain the procedure. I didn’t expect any of our followers to be familiar with a Twitter chat. As I said, there are not many in Spanish (maybe none). I started by asking them to include the hashtag #mensachat in their tweets.
  5. Ask the question. I have a list of recommended topics to choose from.
  6. Moderate. This implies asking follow-up questions, making summaries of what is being said and answering when needed.
  7. Finish. I thought it would be good to end with a reminder of the next chat and with a tweet saying that the conversation would be saved. People can keep chatting if they want after the moderated session is over.

Last Monday was the first #mensachat. Twelve people participated and shared 79 posts in 1 hour. At first, I retweeted their replies to the question. I did some follow-up questions as well, when I felt the conversation was slowing down… Instead of just tweeting using the hashtag, they kept replying to the account of the group (fortunately, they did use the hashtag). I assumed that they were not searching the hashtag, but only reading their usual feed. By the end, they got it and were talking between themselves. I did a couple of summaries to update latecomers. Lots of interesting ideas were dicussed.

At some point I thought they were straying away from the original topic, but before I had to do anything about it, someone did. He brought everyone back. It was a really great experience. 🙂

After it had ended I got a tweet from a lurker: “It was a pleasure to read you”. He has no idea of how much his tweet means to me. It gives evidence of a small success. I will accept that I was worried that the Twitter chat wouldn’t work, but it did. I am happy.

This chat takes place every Monday at 8 pm (Mexico time, which is 2 am UK time; I know, I know). If you speak Spanish and would like to join, please do so! The more, the merrier!

– Brenda Padilla

To follow or not to follow: That is the question…

Six months ago I opened my Twitter account. Doubtful at first, I now find it exciting and interesting. I am a fan. I see so many advantages: Reading news from different sources in a single site, getting direct answers from public figures (e.g. politicians, artists), participating in debates about controversial issues, and more. I follow newspapers, reporters, politicians, government institutions, universities, NGOs, and some individuals whose ideas I respect. I use Twitter as a great source of information. However, I’ve encountered a problem…

I used to be a teacher at a university in Mexico. Recently some students have begun following me in Twitter, and I can’t help but wonder… Should I follow back? I am pretty sure that most of them expect me to do so. It is polite, isn’t it? I do follow some of them, the ones who share articles and insightful ideas. But others tweet about trivial things. I am not really interested in the number of cups of coffee they drink (e.g. “Second cup of coffee today… I love coffee.”), or in their perception of the temperature (e.g. “It’s so cold!! I’m freezing”). Should I follow them as well?

For students who are new to Twitter, being followed can potentially encourage them to become more active and more interesting Twitter users. As their former teacher, I am attracted to that idea. As a person with limited time to spend browsing over information in Twitter, I don’t really like the idea of having my Twitter full of trivial tweets.

I am afraid I don’t really know the way out of this dilemma. I have to admit that when students directly ask me to follow them, I explain them why I don’t want to (e.g. “I don’t really care enough about soccer to like the idea of having a whole match narrated, minute after minute”), but I do follow them… I can’t help it. It feels too impolite not to do it. To follow or not to follow: That is a question hard to answer.

– Brenda Padilla

Adding Twitter to your digital footprint

If you have been thinking of getting started on Twitter but have been putting it off or don’t feel you’re getting your head round it, I hope you will find this short guide useful.

1. Create an account – Go to twitter.com and click on Sign up. You will need to make a username for yourself, which is what will show up on Twitter. Give some thought to this choice. It is part of your digital profile, and you may likely wish to keep this account going as your professional career continues.

Once you have an account, it is a good idea to fill out your profile at least to some extent, by clicking Settings. Having a good, descriptive profile including a picture that is at least fairly recognisable as you will encourage people to follow you.

2. Start following people – At some point, Twitter will begin to suggest people to follow, listed near the upper right corner of your Home page. But you will probably want to follow more than just these. Click on Find  People at the top, make sure the Find on Twitter tab is selected, and type in actual names.

Check the profile to make sure that the person you find is indeed the person you want to follow. If you know someone’s Twitter username, you can search on that and be sure to find the correct person. Follow people who have interests similar to your own.

Tip: when you find someone whose interests match yours, have a look at the people they are following; you may wish to follow these people as well. For example, you might wish to follow me (even though I am not the most exciting person). To give you some information to help you decide, I am a learning technologist at the University of Leicester and my name is Terese Bird. My Twitter username is tbirdcymru.

When you follow people, they may follow you back. You may wish to follow those who follow you. Be aware:, you will notice followers who are salespeople or who are encouraging you to visit dodgy sites. They follow you in the hopes that you will be interested in what they sell. If you are not interested, it is best to either ignore (simply do not follow them) or even perhaps block such followers.

The point is to get good people to follow you back. By good people, I refer to those who will be tweeting about things you are interested in. Only those who choose to follow you will see your tweets

Generally, the best way to build up followers is to keep tweeting interesting things, and to follow those who share your interests.

3. Now you can start tweeting Remember, a tweet can be no longer than 140 characters. Here are some suggestions of what to tweet about:

a. Comment on something in the news that is of interest to you.

b. Call others’ attention to a website discussing something of interest to you. Include a link to the site where it is discussed. See number 4 below for some great ways to shorten the URL of links.

c. You may like to say what you are doing, but ask yourself, is it interesting to other people?  If not, think of something else to tweet about.

d. Tweet about your lecture or whatever you are working on now. This is the best way to show who you are and build your Twitter  around your interests.

e. Ask a question about something you are interested in. This can best illustrate the power of Twitter. Your question may get answered by a true expert in the field. Or, you may get no response at all. Don’t be discouraged if this happens. Just keep trying and tweeting. Sooner or later those who share your interests will respond. Twitter friends can be very loyal and eager to help.

f. Reply to someone else’s tweet. This is an excellent way to make friends and build followers. If you hover your mouse in the lower right of the box of their tweet you will see an arrow and the word Reply; click on it, and it begins a new tweet for you beginning with @ and the tweeter’s nickname. 

Whatever you now tweet, that tweeter will see it as a personal response to their tweet. This gets the attention of the original tweeter. If your interests match theirs and they do not currently follow you, there is a good chance they will decide to follow you. This is a nice way to discuss things with individuals, but it is not private. Everyone can read it. The advantage is that you have identified that you are replying directly to that particular person.

Incidentally, all tweets (including replies) which include @ just before your username will be collected on your Twitter home page at the right just under the word Home. Check this every time you log into Twitter; people might be directly speaking to you using that technique.

You can also Direct Message people who follow you; Direct Messages are only seen by the sender and the recipient. Check your own Direct Messages by clicking on your Home page, on the right, Direct Messages.

g. Re-tweet someone else’s tweets. This is also an excellent way to build followers. Re-tweeting means that you repeat the tweet so that all of your followers can read it. To retweet, hover your mouse in the lower right of the original tweet, and click Retweet.

You might also want to retweet and add a comment of your own. In that case, you need to Retweet by Hand. Just copy the original tweet, click into the box where you enter your own tweet, begin by typing RT @ and then paste everything directly after the @ sysmbol.  Finally add your comment at the end; it will have to be really short! Your retweet will look something like this:

RT @tbirdcymru New iPhone app lets you check your Blackboard site. – v cool!

4. To shorten a URL so it will fit into 140 character tweet, first copy the URL onto the clipboard. Now, go to: http://bit.ly/ Where it says, “enter your long link or file here,” paste in the URL, then click Shorten. You will be given a very short URL which you can now copy and paste into your tweet.

Terese Bird

Learning Technologist and Assistant Media Zookeeper

Out with the old, in with the new?

I was recently asked to add a Follow us on Facebook and a Follow us on Twitter icon to the Media Zoo website. Not a problem I thought, both websites provide brand guidelines, logos and html to easily insert these features into your website. Unfortunately I hadn’t counted on Plone (the Content Management System controlling the Univesity website) and its portlets.

I wanted to horizontally align the two images within a portlet and have URLs on both images. Unfortunately after many attempts I couldn’t get this to work. After talking to the web team my options were:

  1. Include text saying ‘follow us’ after each icon. For me this defeated the purpose of the icons.
  2. Use an image map. This is an image where you can click on different areas of the image and they will have different URLs.
  3. Use a table. No, no and no. A table is for tabular data only, not layout. These icons would not fall into that category.

So an image map it was, which while better than a table is quite an old-fashioned approach to web design. But it worked:

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Now I do completely understand why CMS are necessary on a large website to introduce consistency and an easy to use approach for its editors. but without knowledge of best practice, by its editors, a CMS can still have its issues.

But it makes me wonder: do outdated techniques impact negatively on innovation? To quote Sex and the City: can you get to the future with your past still present?

Emma Davies
Learning Technologist

Disseminate from Day One

I recently attended the ALT-C conference “Into something rich and strange – making sense of the sea-change” (7-9 September in Nottingham). As usual, it was a really good conference; I felt that every session was packed full of information on good practice, experimentation, research, and innovation in learning technology. Although I heard a most inspiring keynote from Sugata Mitra on his life’s work beginning with the installation of ‘hole-in-the-wall’ computers for children in rural India, and although I heard the winning research paper about 5 years of data-gathering on students’ use and purchase of mobile devices, probably the most practical take-home message I received was from a ‘graveyard-shift’ session by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) on the importance of dissemination and sharing our findings. The HEA was asking us, “What else can we do to get the word out regarding some of the great work that is being done?” They pointed out that many funded projects treat dissemination as something done only at the end of the project, when a paper is written and presented at a conference. In fact, there is so much lost with that approach, so much discussion that is forfeited, so much networking and reflection which could enhance and improve and extend the reach of the study. Dissemination should be done from day one.

This resonates with the drip-drip theory of publicity — that if you often, even daily, put out little drips of information about a project or event, it is more effective than just a few big informational outputs.

I’ve had opportunity to discuss these issues with postgraduate students, especially those working on PhDs.  I often hear them say that they don’t think they should talk about their work at all with anyone outside their team. I can understand not wanting to reveal one’s research secrets in advance of publication. However, I think this reticence denies them valuable opportunities to bounce ideas off other experts and receive support from others.

I for one left ALT-C realising that I need to approach each of my projects with the willingness to ‘disseminate from day one.’ We at Beyond Distance are pretty good at disseminating our findings, with this blog and blogs for each of our research projects as well as workshops and other activities, but we can always improve. I need to be much more faithful in my blogging. A little bit, and more often is better than stressing over fewer, bigger communications. Twitter, of which I am already an avid user (I am tbirdcymru and the Beyond Distance Media Zoo is BDMediaZoo), is built for exactly this. Because the bottom line is: if we do great work but don’t effectively communicate it, have we actually completed the great work?

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and Assistant Media ZooKeeper

Beyond Distance Research Alliance

Missed LFF10? Coming soon: LFF10 OERs as a download for you…

It’s been just over two weeks since the end of our Learning Futures Festival 2010 and I’m still riding high on the experiences and achievements of the festival, and also still working hard on the follow up to LFF10. 

As one of the Learning Technologists I was involved in the day to day running of the conference primarily keeping our conference environment up and running: http://atim.janison.com.au/ and I owe a huge amount of thanks to the team who supplied us with this environment for all their help.  It was my first experience of creating an online conference and I tried to make things easy to use but balance this with providing the necessary information.  The responses from the survey have provided areas for me to look at for LFF11 and to try and improve the navigation and layout of this environment, but for a first attempt I think it worked well and ran a lot more smoothly than I anticipated! If you would still like to provide feedback about the Festival and the Festival environment please fill out our survey:

As mentioned during the Festival we’re planning on turning as many live sessions as possible into OERs as part of our OTTER project: http://www.le.ac.uk/otter.  I’m currently transforming the sessions into video and audio files. How the sessions will be split e.g. presentation and questions into separate video will be decided on a session-by-session basis. As each session will be transformed into a reusable and repurposeable OER, you will be able to download and then, if you wish, edit the OER for your own preferred personal viewing and listening. This will provide delegates and anyone else who wishes to download the OERs with a chance to catch up with missed sessions and hopefully maximise the impact of LFF10 while still keeping costs and CO2 emissions to a minimum.

We’re still tweeting about the festival and our other upcoming events with the following hashtags:

  • #lff10
  • #uolbdra
  • #otteroer
  • #uolinsl
  • #uolmz

You might have noticed a recent tweet about one of our newest animals to the zoo, PANTHER. This might just be a fleeting visit, so make the most of it while you can!  PANTHER (Podcasting in Assessment: New Technology in Higher Education Research) is holding a workshop on the 3rd March 2010.  This will be both a physical and online event which you can register for here:

Keep an eye out for my tweets (http://twitter.com/emmafull) about the LFF10 OERs due for release in the next month and I look forwarding to seeing you all at LFF11.

Emma Davies
Learning Technologist

DAY 6 at LFF2010

… with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore and Marcus Bentley

T’was the day after Monday, and all over town –
Many noses were frozen, and much snow fluttered down…

Good thing this is an online conference, because getting in to Leicester for 9 am on this Tuesday would have been a nightmare…

The day began  with Gilly’s daily address which through pre-recorded, went rather well. I found the idea – suggested by Gilly, that each educational institution was an enterprise that needs to evolve – to be quite interesting. Considering the different parts of the world that participants have been joining sessions from, the discussions, questions and comments related to experiences and observations from a range of varying contexts. An energetic debate focussed on an emerging trend of a more pronounced consumer mentality of educational ‘shoppers’ (students and parents) and that this might force forces HEIs to adopt adversarial business models because they have to compete more and more with each other.

Following this was Tessa Welch’s keynote address which suggested that the main value of OERs (open educational resources) in Africa’s context is that they provide momentum for the surfacing of good quality existing resources as OERs, which would otherwise remain undiscovered or remain locked within institutions or publishers. She drew extensively on SAIDE’s experience in a pilot OER project resulting in the adaptation and use of a module in the teaching and learning of mathematics in six South African institutions, and also on the lessons of experience in taking this to scale for a teacher education space on the OER Africa platform. The discussion sessions for this keynote followed later in the day.

At 1100 GMT, five bravehearts joined Simon, Terese and Paul (aka Johnson, Aallyah and PD Alchemi) in Second Life for the Oil rig evacuation, and though this was only the second time that this session was run in SL. Attendees found it to be most enjoyable. Some of them admitted to be scared by the ‘fire’ that led to the evacuation scenario.

The OTTER team led 22 attendees through the Open Wide workshop at 12 noon, which focussed on reward and recognition for academic staff for making teaching materials freely available as OERs. The presenters suggested that despite the recent, dramatic increase in the number of OER repositories in the UK HE sector and some altruistically motivated academics making their teaching materials freely available for re-use, concerns remain regarding appropriate reward and recognition for staff contributions of OERs.

The afternoon sessions began with Emma Kimberley’s presentation on the University of Leicester’s Graduate School Media Zoo initiative that supports postgraduate researchers. This paper took an overview of the challenges of supporting and connecting postgraduate researchers at UoL through the development of a physical and virtual ‘research forum’ based within the University  Library. An interesting discussion ensued, with reflections from several participants on their own experiences of support that they had as postgraduate students.

At 1500 GMT, David Wolfson’s (an independent education consultant) paper titled ‘Eight Years Old and Already Collaborating Online’ focussed on what the future holds for HE (considering that today’s 8-year olds will be entering HE in about a decade), describing a stepped approach to successful online teacher- and student-led learning in schools. Practical evidence  – from senior leaders and learners at over 100 schools of all types and sizes as they set out to use learning platforms – was brought to bear on the proceedings.

Later, Stuart Johnson, David Morgan and Matthew Mobbs from the University of Leicester shared their experiences of using social media (especially  Facebook and Twitter) to engage with students about issues deemed important for Student Development and the Students’ Union at the university of Leicester’s Student Support Service and Students’ Union. A lively discussion followed with a range of practitioners contributing their experiences from different aspects of providing and receiving pastoral and learning support for students.

Following the Second Life Campfire, the last paper of the day was from Dr Richard Mobbs, which challenged listeners to put the ‘PLE in to the VLE’. VLEs being more often than not designed to meet the needs of the institution, rather than the learner, the time – Richard claimed – had come to integrate new developments like online social networks, mobile technologies, widely-used social software applications and others to provide ‘more PLE’ within the context of the main VLE provision.

This is a screen-grab from Twitter on what people were saying about LFF2010 on Tuesday evening. One keynote from a previous day has proven inspirational and the attendees of the SL Oil Rig Evacuation from earlier in the day sound happy!!

That Was The Day 6 That Was … now Day 7 awaits. Enjoy!

– Jai Mukherjee / 13 January 2010

What you missed if you missed Online Educa Berlin

Last week the Intercontinental Hotel in Berlin was descended upon by 2,000+ motley e-learning types, all attending the annual Online Educa Berlin (OEB) conference. It was an extremely well-run conference (just as you’d expect in Germany), and had some memorable moments (just as you’d expect in a gathering of that size with people from over 90 countries present, all of whom are doing interesting things in e-learning). So I thought I’d share my potted list of highlights – bearing in mind that it was only possible for one person to attend a fraction of the sessions, so the list may appear a bit random.

The keynote addresses were without exception stimulating. On Thursday, David Puttnam showed us some moving extracts from a recently released film, We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For, and made a plea for educators to use moving images in their teaching, and to encourage their students to create moving images. Brian Durrant gave an impressive overview of how the schools in London are all linked up on a single, streamlined platform, which is enabling collaboration amongst teachers and students, as well as giving students the opportunity to access more materials from home. The system has been enthusiastically received by students and teachers, and the combined platform has been a huge cost saver for individual districts. Zenna Atkins spoke entertainingly and persuasively about the need to recognise both the needs and contributions of children who have grown up ‘digital’. With deliberate and delicious irony, she contrasted her experience as a mother with that as Chairman of Ofsted, leaving the audience in no doubt as to the limitations of the school inspection body in effecting meaningful change in the education system.

On Friday, the University of Leicester’s Gilly Salmon gave the first keynote address, along with student representative, Aaron Porter. Gilly’s metaphoric ‘tree of learning’ showed beautifully the long way that education has come since our forefathers made cave paintings, and she had the audience twittering about her question as to the two great wonders of education… (Answers anyone? The famous library at Alexandria and… the Internet.) Artur Dyro, from Young Digital Planet in Poland, successfully resisted the temptation give a sales spiel, and spoke engagingly about what the publishing industry can learn from today’s learners. (And it wasn’t what your run-of-the-mill, copyright-defending commercial publisher would want to hear…) Lizbeth Goodman then showed some intriguing footage of people in wheelchairs dancing with able-bodied people, demonstrating how technology can empower disabled people. This went down well, although her decision to read a rather sentimental voice-over, apparently for atmospheric effect, caused some mutters on twitter. (Twutters?)

The Beyond Distance team from the University of Leicester had a rather visible presence at OEB. Apart from Gilly’s keynote address, she also led a half-day pre-conference workshop with Sandra Romenska, in which delegates looked into crystal balls to glimpse some insights into learning futures, guided by preliminary findings from the CALF project. The Beyond Distance team also led a Learning Café, in which several of our research projects were described, giving audience members a brief taste of everything from the use of e-book readers in higher education, to what Psychology students can learn from evacuating a burning oil rig in the virtual world, Second Life. Finally, the OTTER project (putting the University of Leicester’s teaching materials on the web under open licences) and IMPALA (podcasting) project were described in more detail in longer presentations. All the slides from these sessions are available here.

The most provocative session of the three days was the Big Debate, in which Aric Sigman zealously warned the audience against the harmful consequences of too much social networking on children’s brains, and was capably countered by Donald Clark, who identified numerous points of false logic in Aric’s argument. I think the defining moment was when Aric, with some pomp and ceremony, showed us photos of some kids at school in North Korea and Bhutan (the latter playing with guns) and held them up as example of “well disciplined” school children, supposedly better off than kids who have easy access to the Web. This really doesn’t warrant any comment here, but if you’re interested, you can read Donald’s detailed version of the debate or an abridged account (written with feeling) by another OEB-attendee, Iain.

A couple of other highlights were Clive Shepherd talking about the nonsensical way in which many corporations have implemented e-learning for so-called ‘compliance training’, and Inge de Waard talking about the value of Web 2.0 applications that exist outside the ‘walled gardens’ of our institutional VLEs. (I heartily agreed – and was particularly excited to meet Inge, being a long-time follower of her blog.) Another exciting session was the one on breaking down intercultural barriers in e-learning. I was particularly impressed by Thorsten Randel‘s description of the ambitious Scoyo project, in which a virtual team comprising members from India to Germany to South America, and many countries in between, worked for a year to produce 12,000 hours’ worth of language teaching materials for children. Randel’s project management process included solving 60,000 ‘issues’ during this time!

Unfortunately I missed the Battle of the Bloggers session, which promised to be interesting, but I see Clive Shepherd has already blogged on it here.

Apart from the sessions described, my main take-home from the conference was a new understanding of the role that twitter can play at such a massive gathering. I found myself getting quite hooked on the twitter stream (when I was able to get a connection, which wasn’t all the time), both to read the running commentary on the session I was in, and also to see what I was missing in the other sessions. There was one attempt at getting the audience to use a separate back channel (Cover It Live) – presumably to prevent the distraction of tweets from other sessions, but it was only used by a handful of people, and when audience members wanted to write less-than-positive comments in this session, they reverted to twitter (which I found interesting!) I gathered via twitter that at least one conference member was sitting in one session and watching a second session that was being streamed live, simultaneously. That kind of thing does my head in, just thinking about it… Oh, and one last thing: twitter lived up to its reputation as a subversive element, being used to recruit people to a more interesting session after they had tweeted their dissatisfaction with the sessions they were in…

Gabi Witthaus / 7 December 2009

Using the back channel effectively in presentations

Earlier this year the Beyond Distance team had an ‘away day’, during which we all gathered in Leicester’s leafy Victoria Park and carried out several activities to help us give better presentations – much to the amusement of passers-by. Activities included giving a presentation to an imaginary audience located way above us on the 18th floor of the nearby Attenborough Tower, and experimenting with different kinds of body language while talking to the flowers. (Good for improving our voice projection and stage presence, as you can imagine, not to mention addressing any inhibitions about public speaking!)

With presentations coming up at two major conferences in the next two months – one face-to-face (Online Educa Berlin) and one online (Beyond Distance’s Learning Futures Festival), I appreciate these strategies. However, I am also aware of the need to learn to use the so-called ‘back channel’ (twitter in live events, and the instant messaging chat box in online events) as a positive force.

For a great summary of the lively discussion taking place in the blogosphere about the use of twitter in face-to-face presentations, see this piece by Olivia Mitchell. Perhaps the most important point she makes is that one cannot ignore the back channel. Whether you choose to have the twitterstream projected on a large screen while you are presenting, or to specifically ask the conference organisers not to do so (both of which are legitimate choices), your audience will be interacting with one another – and the outside world – while you are speaking. Mitchell recommends asking a colleague, or a member of the audience if necessary, to play the role of twitter monitor, and stopping your presentation to respond to questions or comments from time to time. She also suggests telling the audience at the start of your presentation how and when you will respond to their tweets.

If you want to be more proactive about the use of twitter, you can integrate the twitterstream into your presentation, as described in an earlier blog posting by Terese. A further option is to actually schedule your own tweets that will be sent when you click on a particular slide.

If you are presenting online (for example in Elluminate or Adobe Connect), your audience is more likely to use the internal instant messaging tool than twitter, and it’s worth having a strategy for keeping up with the comments here too. In the ELKS seminars coordinated by Palitha Edirisingha at Beyond Distance, we have found it essential to have one person dedicated to monitoring the back channel, and summarising the questions and issues for the presenter at regular intervals.

Finally, don’t forget to archive the twitter stream (e.g. using Twapper Keeper) or to keep a recording of the online event for future reference.

Gabi Witthaus

REGISTER NOW FOR THE LEARNING FUTURES FESTIVAL
Learning Futures Festival Online 2010
Positively Disruptive
7–14 January 2010
More networking, more keynotes, more workshops, for less cost, less effort…
www.le.ac.uk/beyonddistance/festival

Breaking out of the blog

Why do I want to break out of the blog? Simple reason:  because I can!

Well to be more detailed about the reason and to explain in more detail might be useful and might assure you that I haven’t lost it completely.  It came to me when I was sat in a meeting yesterday where we were talking about the use of technology to design and delivery curriculum. There was nothing wrong with the meeting, there were some very useful ideas that I picked up, but the use of the technology in the meeting was limited to a laptop and projector and you were invited to twitter if you had the technology.

It gave me the idea that maybe a text based blog might not always be the best way of communicating and that there are other web based applications that might be more beneficial to communicate my thoughts.  So in order to break out of the confines of the blog I’m inviting you to view the following:

What I’ve been thinking about this week – Flickr stream

My recent bookmarks – Delicious

Follow me on Twitter (yes I’ve finally taken the plunge!)

If you choose not to view any of the above that is your preference.  I just want to know whether the ideas we produce in this blog are presented in the most beneficial way to communicate the ideas or whether the ideas suffer from the constraints of the blog. Can I, and you, break out of the blog?

Emma Davies
Learning Technologist

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