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Why Jing to Twitter Matters
December 14, 2009 - 8:04pm

Nobody gets the power of small pieces loosely joined better than TechSmith.

I've been playing with its newest Jing feature - one that allows Jing screencasts or images to be directly uploaded to Twitter.

Jing is wonderful because it is free (for the basic version), lightweight, cross-platfom, and nimble. I've used Jing extensively for both teaching and my work with faculty colleagues.

For teaching, Jing is a great tool for student authoring. For no money you can require that your students make quick (<5 minute) voice-over presentations of their topics and share their work in your course management system. For professional work, Jing is an easy way to create and share screencasts of best practices and features of course design and the technologies that support innovative pedagogy.

The newest feature, allowing Jing to easily upload to Twitter, could be a wonderful laboratory for introducing social media and real-time communications into teaching.

Some Jing/Twitter Teaching Scenarios:

1. Give your class its own #hashtag. (Note: I wish that the LMS could automatically generate and then integrate the #hashtag for publishing from within the LMS for announcements, blog or wiki posts - or reading from within the LMS - is anyone working on this?). Then require your students to tweet anything relevant to the curriculum of the course. Part of this relevant tweeting could be doing voice-over screencasts using Jing where the students talk through why the link, site, application, article (whatever) is worth the classes attention.

2. Use Jing + Twitter to do rapid voice overs of assignments, homework sets, or course announcements. Use this communications channel to supplement what you say in class and/or write in your LMS. Students will see the real-time information come up on their Twitter feed as you will use the #hashtag. The fact that it is your voice in the voice-over will add intimacy to the course and help build a bond between you and your students.

These are just the first two ideas that popped into my head. I'm sure (I hope) that you can think of better ideas for how Jing and Twitter could go together for teaching and learning. The point is that this combination of tools offers a no cost and no barrier opportunity for innovation in learning. We can set out a learning goal, (say to share and communicate with classmates relevant articles, sites and videos to the curriculum), and then let our students experiment with the free tools of Jing and Twitter. The only cost is the need to assign weight of the final grade for your student's innovation and use of Web 2.0 and social media tools for communication. If students are rewarded with class participation points towards their final grade then they will be motivated to experiment with the tools and develop their own active sharing voice.

I applaud TechSmith for being willing to introduce new features that don't add to the complexity of their services, but rather add to their connectivity and relevance. How would you use Jing and Twitter together? What other products and companies are rolling out free tools (with an up-sell option such as Jing Pro) that are able to integrate and interpolate with the growing Web 2.0 and social media ecosystems?


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