Recently, I was introduced to the Ten Days of Twitter #10DoT, developed by Helen Webster at MELSIG event . Head of TEL at York St Johns, Phil Vincent presented the work he had done in Yorkshire using this approach, which staff from a variety institutions in the area found engaging. The key element to this approach is the old axiom about exercise: do a little and do it often. What I like about this approach is that it cuts through the often heard rhetoric in HE about not having time to learn new skills. The #10DoT approach responds to that by basing it around small, bite size chunks of time: 10- 15mins per day but you can do more!. This excellent work come under a creative commons license, so can be reused and adapted as long as credit is assigned.
At the same time, I was invited to deliver a training session on using twitter in higher education for the SIGMA group run by Leslie Fletcher. However, I had been informed that the SIGMA attendees would require more time to focus on the practical elements as well as the theory.
This wasn't the first time I've taught academic staff about Twitter. This is something I've been doing at LJMU for a number of years, however those sessions tended toward the discursive, rather than practical, focussing on the potential uses, benefits and pitfalls. So, a rethink was in order. I decided I would try this method out in a face-to-face session. This was possibly a foolish move!
My approach #10DOT was to reduce it to 1 hr 30 mins of Twitter, in a classroom last Friday morning. To help me manage the session, I'd sent out information to attendees asking them to bring a mobile device of their choosing and ensure they had signed up to Twitter beforehand, if they wanted to. This reduced the tasks to 9 rather than 10.I'd anticipated that this would help get the session started quickly. It is always challenging (but fun!) to support and deliver training sessions that use peoples own devices for learning. In the room we had a Linux laptop, 3 iOS, and four android devices! I was fortunate to have an experienced delegate @markfeltham helping me out as well. Thankfully, the Linux laptop was never used!
So what worked?
- People were sharing tips and helping each other
- Busy chatter and lots of questions throughout the activities is always a good thing
- Getting everyone to update their apps
- Practically using Twitter
- Ensure participants have the log in details for the App store & Google Play
- Have you log in details to hand for Twitter if you are using an old account
- Ensure you have the latest version of the app on your device.
Would I do it again? Of course! For some attendees that had concerns about using Twitter, I hope they were addressed and it demystified the tool for them, allayed any fears and demonstrated the potential to help them in their work and play.
Peter Reed was also at this session and we both agreed we should one for the city of Liverpool in September 2014. Watch this space....
Footnote - I posted the above presentation to Slideshare and have been fascinated to see the number of views rocket: currently standing at 5091. It has been embedded in a moodle course in Thailand, liked in Mexico and India (amongst others) and downloaded by 95 folk! Why has this happened? I suspect its the power of a nice cover image and a clear title, but it does demonstrate the potential to get you message out, beyond the wall of your institution, via social media