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Twitter and the learning technology stream
November 15, 2009 - 9:51pm

Twitter is changing how I keep up with the educational technology world. I'm moving from relying on an RSS reader (I use Google Reader) to relying on Twitter subscriptions and hashtags. For the first time I'm wondering if Google should be worried about their core business model, as if my experience is any guide on how we use the Web to understand the world, may be moving away from search and more towards microblogging Twitter clients (I use Twhirl by Seesmic).

At EDUCAUSE 09 Twitter was much debated (go watch the fabulous Campbell/Maas point/counterpoint) and extravagantly utilized for sharing and communication (see the #EDUCAUSE09 transcript). I'm pretty certain that Course Management Systems will start to build in Twitter capabilities and that hashtags will automatically be generated for each course. Tweeting will become a standard way for students and instructors to share information, thoughts and links around the course material. Many instructors will become comfortable incorporating and leveraging a Twitter-enabled backchannel to both in-class and out-of-class communication.

Scanning the educational technology news stream via a Twitter client vs. relying on an RSS reader means that I look at content that has been recommended by a person. The learning technology community is small enough that I can pretty quickly begin to filter by reputation. If one person consistently links to material that I find useful and interesting then I'm more likely to click on her links. Rather then going to particular blogs, or presentations, or videos, or articles based on the title or site (as I do with an RSS reader), I go because of a colleague's recommendation.

This is a big change, and I'm still getting my head around this shift. My apologies for all those folks like Clay Shriky (and perhaps) you who understood (and blogged about) the implications of microblogging and social media a long time ago. I feel like I'm sort of coming late to this bandwagon. My conversion to information gathering by Twitter client has me wondering about the need to explore this method in course design, faculty training, and student information literacy. I want to learn more about this (so I'm nominating Shirky to keynote EDUCAUSE 2010!).

The hashtags I follow on Twitter include: #highered, #edtech, #educause, #educause09, #blackboard, #onlinelearning, #audible, #moodle. Am I missing some crucial edtech hashtags?

Among the key learning technology news sources I follow on Twitter are: IHEtech, InsideHigherEd, wiredcampus, iheinsider, educause, and educauseELI. Are there other publications, reporters or organizations that I should be following?

The ed. tech companies that I follow on Twitter include: audible_com, Blackboard, TechSmith, TechSmithEDU, pearsonls, Microsoft_EDU, and Moodlerooms. Which ed. tech. companies do you follow on Twitter?

Finally I follow about 50 people in the learning technology community. Mostly folks that I've met through reading their blogs or blog comments, at conferences or through their publications. I'm sure I'm missing many key voices, would like to hear how you build your ed. tech. Twitter lists.

Is Twitter changing how you keep up with our field? Do you think that there is a larger story here about how we find, consume and share information?


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