Twittering and Twondering

It all started with a good laugh after looking at Super-Josh’s comic video “Twouble With Twitters”, posted on Dean Giustini’s blog. I am an occassional twitterer, so I could laugh at myself – thanks, Dean.  Then, on a more serious note, I followed a trail that Brian put me on to – first to Cole Camplese’s post where he laments what sounds like a less than warm reception by a bunch of academics to his ideas about Twitter and the social web in general – then to the Wired Campus article and discussion – fascinating stuff, yet again highlighting the differences in perception about what makes a good learning environment.

Couldn’t resist a little Wordle fun as I was thinking about the differences that came across in some of the comments. I decided to pull some words from the comments that seemed to indicate fear or open hostility towards Twitter-like tools in the classroom alongside others that indicated appreciation.  Here’s what they looked like:

Just found this article: A semantic approach to visualizing online conversations by Judith Donath . Provides some interesting theoretical background to the use of visualization tools to map online conversation.

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8 thoughts on “Twittering and Twondering

  1. Thanks for the comments all!

    What I meant to add (as an observation) is that although both word arrangements included the word “wrong”, the context was very different for each. For the ‘fearers’, it was in the context “what if students are wrong?” (which had the undercurrent of disaster rather than opportunity). For the ‘appreciaters’ , the statement was “It’s OK to be wrong”. I know which environment I’d rather learn in!

  2. This is a great use of the word cloud! I have to say that I think the Chronicle gave me an opportunity to break open a discussion that has needed to happen for quite some time. From where I sit this is creating opportunities to engage in new conversations — with all of us learning technologists, faculty, administrators, and students. The thing that is really cool about the clouds is the fact that they so effectively call out the differences between the tone within the context of the commenters. I do wonder how the colors play into the representation of the words … the reds do bring out a rage that represent fear and loathing very well.

    I do know this much — I only teach in rooms where disruption is the norm, so seeing all this shake down within the walls of the Chronicle is somehow really gratifying. I’m pleased to add some disruption to the otherwise pedestrian flow that I typically read there. Now, how do we push this even further? Thanks for taking the time to envision this discussion in a new way! Really cool … I hope you don’t mind if I co-op this for some future talks?

  3. Thanks for your comment, Cole! I’d be happy for you to co-opt the word clouds in whatever way you like. I did think about the colors, by the way, and chose those which (to me) reflected the tone of the comments.

    Thanks for the disruptive influence – always appreciated – especially when so thoughtfully presented in the broader context of what (I think) it means to be a great teacher. Happy that some of your learners participated in the fray, too!

    Cindy

  4. Your cloud comparison isn’t just a nice way of getting a quick sense of the “sides” in this ridiculous debate (there’s wrong and then there’s really wrong), but a great example of using word clouds meaningfully… not that I have a problem with clouds as pretty pictures or anything, but…

  5. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your comment. I hope we get to meet in person sometime. I was blown away by your Ustreamed TTIX keynote: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/1611334. You brilliantly wove together so many themes that I have been near obsessed with (in a chaotic, fragmented jumble) over the past year! Thanks!

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