Tonight's inaugural #etmooc Twitter chat was surprising for me. I've been using Twitter for some time now, mostly as a tool for maintaining personal social networks and aggregating news and research items. I have used it as part of an informal learning network, too, to learn new skills from people with similar interests. I've had conversations with groups, and I'm familiar with hashtags and RTs and so forth, so I thought this Twitter chat would be easy.
First: my iPad is not a laptop. If I'm going to use it in this way, I must remember to connect the external keyboard in order to keep the pace in a Twitter chat of such magnitude.
Second: Twitter for iOS did not have adequate functionality for the challenge.
I was very quickly overwhelmed. I stumbled.
Propitiously. Because, as I was flailing about (definitely not waving but drowning) members of #etmooc threw me some water wings (thanks for the analogy @EHordyskiLuong) and offered me all kinds of useful suggestions about apps to try. I now have Hootsuite on the iPad and reacquainted myself with Tweetdeck on the laptop; both are ready and waiting for next week.
More importantly, #etmooc members offered encouragement. It was an example for me of a point that was made in the orientation sessions -- that learning occurs when students feel safe. I fear that I sometimes forget what it must be like for my students when they encounter Blackboard for the first time. Mine is a very small scale example, but it was good to be reminded of what it feels like to be anxious and frustrated by an overwhelming learning environment, and then to feel encouraged and supported. The beginnings of trust. The beginnings of community. It reminds me of the urgency of setting the right tone for students upon their entry into my online courses.
I think I see forming the kind of professional learning network/community I had hoped I would find here. :)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad