From literacy to thinking in the public, the possibilities of Twitter for learners continues to intrigue me.
That is why I’ve been impressed by the risk one of our teachers took with the use of Twitter beyond the usual lower level posting assignments, message blasting, or basic discussion forum-like uses.
With students in the field interning, Mrs. Jones leverages Twitter as a mechanism for students to connect with educators locally as well as globally, develop their professional identity, and explore ideas in the open. In other words, through connected learning these students are thinking publicly as Ritchhard and Perkins describes:
- Learning is a consequence of thinking.
- Good thinking is not only a matter of skills, but also a matter of dispositions.
- The development of thinking is a social endeavor.
- Fostering thinking requires making thinking visible.
Using Twitter as a sort of public field journal, learners engage in real-time connecting, curating, and sharing in multiple formats: images, texts, and videos. All of this leads to making thinking public in ways that support engagement, disposition development, reflection, and thinking skills. But it also leads to learning how to build, navigate, and maintain networks.
One important piece to this use of Twitter was the decision not to use blogs. Quite simply, the microblogging nature, the immediacy of network formation, and the mobile potential afforded by Twitter made it a more viable option.
Could blogs have been used? Sure. However, I doubt with the effectiveness that Twitter brings to this context. In fact, it would have been a different experience entirely. And this is another reason I’ve been impressed by this experience: thoughtfulness. The class explored various possibilities based upon the learning and experience desired. In the end, this level of thoughtfulness is key to meaningful and sustainable shifts in learning.