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« Guest Post by Tom Dawkins: Ashoka’s use of Twitter | Main | Twitter Is A Network Weaver's Best Friend »


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Nancy Schwartz

Beth, loved learning new strategies for training. Opened up my thinking on integrating social media, and more. Thanks much.

Peg Mulligan

Hi Beth,

Thanks for all the tips yesterday, at the Engage 365 Online Community. I'll be working on adding the tools and techniques you mentioned to my social media repetoire, and using your social media wiki for trainers, as a resource.

You might find interesting a recent report, conducted by SRI International for the Department of Education, which concluded that students in online learning conditions (including Web-based video, instant messaging, and collaboration tools), performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.

You can check out the Department of Education's report (a PDF link) about online learning here:
Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning
A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies

See the New York Times write-up here:
Study Finds That Online Education Beats the Classroom

A different report, Social Media's Effect on Learning (see Wallstreet Journal write-up here:, indicates that the multi-tasking aspects of social media may help make folks cognitively more flexible, in the same way as bilingual thought does.

Thanks again for your great presentation.

Kivi Leroux Miller

Hi Beth,

Great webinar this week! Reading The Backchannel over the holiday break and your webinar this week inspired me to jump into actively encouraging the backchannel during my webinar series. Before I would check for tweets after, but now I'm adding a tweetchat slide into every deck and will have my laptop open next to the desktop for Twitter/Question breaks. During the live event, I'll have to limit myself to answering questions verbally though. Trying to type out answers during a live presentation would be impossible.

Because the majority of our trainings are paid events, I use a password protected handouts page for each webinar that is the functional equivalent of the wiki for sharing, but that doesn't allow participants to share with each other. I need to think more on how to encourage that kind of sharing within our training framework.

I'm excited about working together on the "online trainings that don't suck" session. We'll see what we can brew up . . .

Debra Askanase

Hi Beth,
I couldn't make your webinar (I was actually giving a presentation myself), but I used three of your key points in it, taken from the blog post last week: create a learning space, make points tweetable, create a delicious account of the URLs referenced. There is so much more in this article that I'll have to incorporate! Thanks for being such a great resource.

I want to add my thoughts on teaching to all levels: it is completely true that there will be a spread of all levels of knowlege and use of social media in the room, even the "intermediate level" folks have a spread within that level. I find it very hard to teach to two levels and am inspired by your idea about giving the intermediate level folks the opportunity to teach. That has me thinking, also, about whether or not we can have folks self-identify in the room itself.

I'll be joining Engage365 - it sounds like a great community.

Joitske hulsebosch

Hi Beth, great to read this! I forgot to check whether the webinar was at a reasonable time for me...

My huge question is: how do you work with a backchannel if only a minority of the people in the audience are familiar with it?

Melinda Lewis

I'm, of course, interested in how to integrate social media into the higher education classroom. I'm actually having to fight university policy against allowing laptops in the classroom (they argue that students will just be on Facebook or something, and my point is that, if they are, it's my fault for not being engaging enough; they'd just be tuning out without the laptop, then!)--I want students to be able to look stuff up, interact in different ways, and help me improve content for future classes, too. Some of the pieces here don't transfer too well, but others do very well, and I'm going to be playing with this more as I work up some courses for online instruction next fall. I'd love any of your thoughts on how to make the connection.

Alan Levine

Hi Beth- few people do this so comprehensively as you ;-) I cant say I know the answer to your request for "research on incorporating social media into instruction" but am sure something is out there, but it is all so new. I'd be a tad skeptical of ones like the chronicle link you have based on attitudinal survey ("I like it when my prof does X"); that is pretty superficial, IMHO.

What is more worth knowing is what people do *later* after your class/workshop and some of the longer term impacts are down the road past where you can see.

I'm thinking of there being more dimensions to a workshop than the old days of showing up, getting some instructor led experience, and marching home with a notebook. First of all, the audience know can be diffuse- you can connect with, reach, bring in, people beyond the walls of the room, which is profound. Secondly, there is thinking about the parts that take place in the room/during a session, and then what happens after outside-- to me that part is more important-- what do people do new, differently as a result later of your workshop?? . What I like about your approaches is that you provide the footholds etc for people to do that.

My aim is always to maximize what we do in the limited time together in the space. Background, references, readings, references, are all stuff that can be done offline, afterward. If you are going to demo something, don't spend 15 minutes prefacing it with rationale and history, start with the demo!

Wikis can work in a webinar, but dsign around having multiple people try and edit the same page; wikis work best in an asynchronous mode. I usually have people/groups do wiki work in an individual/group scratch pad page, or have enough content spread out on a wiki so people aren't colliding.

Lastly, your subtle technique of tweeting to me for a reply to this is a masterful stroke. In all of this social media, be it blogging, tweeting, posting photos, there is a crucial key in taking the time to be present/comment/contribute in other people's spaces.


danah boyd at Apophenia blogged about her experience with a projected Twitter backchannel.

To say the least, recon is important!

"I walked off stage and immediately went to Brady and asked what on earth was happening. And he gave me a brief rundown. The Twitter stream was initially upset that I was talking too fast. My first response to this was: OMG, seriously? That was it? Cuz that’s not how I read the situation on stage. So rather than getting through to me that I should slow down, I was hearing the audience as saying that I sucked. And responding the exact opposite way the audience wanted me to. This pushed the audience to actually start critiquing me in the way that I was imagining it was. And as Brady went on, he said that it started to get really rude so they pulled it to figure out what to do. But this distracted the audience and explains one set of outbursts that I didn’t understand from the stage. And then they put it back up and people immediately started swearing. More outbursts and laughter. The Twitter stream had become the center of attention, not the speaker. Not me."

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