Originally published April 2007, District Administer Magazine
By Dr. Yvonne Marie Andrés, President & Co-Founder, Global SchoolNet Foundation
Thanks to my worldwide network of informed colleagues and passionate Internet geeks, I am always discovering new and amazing things. My latest find is Twitter.com, which is essentially a collaborative worldview stream of consciousness – comprised of random thoughts, posted by random people, in mini-blog format.
According to the Twitter.com FAQs, “Twitter is a community of friends and strangers from around the world sending updates about moments in their lives. Friends near or far can use Twitter to remain somewhat close while far away. Curious people can make friends. Bloggers can use it as a mini-blogging tool. Developers can use the API to make Twitter tools of their own.”
How does it work? You are allowed 140 characters to let folks know what you are doing. These are called twitters and they are posted via the web, IM, or phone text message. The public can view all the twitters in real time via the Twitter Public Timeline – or, via Twittervision.com, which is a merge of twitters and Google Maps.
But, I warn you. The reaction that most adults will have is, “I don’t get it? My life is pretty boring. Why would anyone want to know what I’m doing all day?” For example, JC said, “I can’t say that I completely get it - who am I talking to? Is it a blog or what? Does anyone out there really want to know when I’m having a sandwich? What is the internet? But, not doing it makes me feel like an old person who’s given up because he doesn’t understand something, so for a while at least I’m going to keep spouting nonsense into the void and getting pointless messages from strangers. I complain, but I actually find it strangely compelling. For today, expect to see some entries like -- Driving to Baltimore, and later, Still driving to Baltimore.”
Yes, apparently kids really, really love it. Exchanging twitters makes them feel like they are connected to a worldwide community of twittering friends.
Will Twittervision change the world? Maybe not.
Or, maybe it will just a little – as this tool has the potential to show us how easily we can all connected.
Adrine, another Twitterer, said, “I have been intrigued by Twittervision because it makes the world seem so small (and somewhat small-minded), and was watching it a few days ago when I saw a message from someone I actually know in another state. It was exciting in a weird way; random messages from strangers and then suddenly a less random message from a friend. As for its usefulness, two days ago a group of my friends were at Etech in San Diego and one of them took ill. Another took him to the hospital and twittered the universe to let us know what was up and how he was coming along. It saved a whole lot of time to send that message on twitter rather than having to call or email everyone who cared. I was surprised at how well it worked.”
What are the educational applications of Twittervision? Well, how about as a brainstorming tool, or to share scientific measurements, or to get a reaction to a survey question,…the possibilities are quite limitless. So, what are you waiting for? Stop twittering your time away reading this article and go check it out for yourself! FYI…you can find my twitters at http://twitter.com/YvonneMarieA
Are we not truly fortunate to be living in a time when creatively collaborative things like this exist?
Where to Learn More:
Application from Iconfactory that enables you to receive Twitters and post them without being on the site. Sorry PC users, it's only for Macs.
Application built by Rare Edge Design Group for Windows that allows you to send and receive Twitters from your desktop.
Twitter Fan Wiki
Community resource put together by Twitter users for Twitter users, featuring stuff made by and for Twitter users.
Dr. Yvonne Marie Andres is President of the (not-for-profit) Global SchoolNet Foundation. An educator for two decades, Andres has taught pre-school through university and is dedicated to demonstrating and documenting the power of global collaborative learning. She is co-founder of Global SchoolNet, producer of the Global Schoolhouse website, Doors to Diplomacy, the International Schools CyberFair program, and has provided leadership at conferences and workshops throughout the U.S., Canada, Asia, Europe, Australia, South America and Africa. Dr. Andres was named one of the 25 most influential people, worldwide in education technology.
Global SchoolNet Foundation (GSN) is the original online resource for global project-based learning, problem-based learning, and online collaborative learning. Global SchoolNet partners with schools, communities and businesses in 194 countries to provide collaborative educational, scientific and cultural learning activities -- that prepare youth for the workforce and help them to become literate and responsible global citizens. GSN, a not-for-profit, has 90,000 members and has been linking classrooms around the world since 1984.