Unsticking the stuck

6 Jul

“Twitter is too hard for me to use.” That statement stopped me in my tracks earlier today when I was trying to persuade some colleagues about the benefits of networking via Twitter.

I’m on a maths training programme called MAST. It’s a big 2 year academic thing that can contribute to a Masters degree (if you want it too). Myself and the other participants are at different stages of study and some of us are stuck.

Some of us are stuck because the university’s VLE is old and outdated, without the functionality and flexibility of the kind of interfaces we’re used to like facebook.

Some of us are stuck because the material is hard. There are hard words to understand and apply, like ‘didactic’ and ‘quotitive’ (a word I used in my last post).

Some of us are stuck because in the local area network meetings we still haven’t actually formed a network – we come to them, we learn some stuff but then we don’t talk about it in between.

Now it seems to me that Twitter would be a good solution to this. We could have a tag for our group and communicate when we’re stuck to each other, post useful links, help each other with the tricky parts of the course. It might even make the rest of the face-to-face meetings more meaningful.

The problem is that out of the 28 participants and 2 course tutors, only I use Twitter. A small group of them use Facebook and have set up a Facebook group, but say that ‘Twitter would be too hard for them to use.’

That was such an interesting statement and I have to say that 6 months ago I would have said the same thing. Since then however I’ve decided that it is my responsibility to learn about new technologies so that I can help the children I teach and their parents understand them better and use them more safely. On the way I have discovered that they have really helped me plug in to learning networks and be generally more effective.

So how do I persuade the others that Twitter is the thing to do?

Firstly, am I wrong – is there a better solution? For example, setting up a wiki page buckling down and setting up a discussion on the university’s oh-so-clunky VLE? Something else.

Secondly, maybe I should just join the Facebook group and convince people to come to Twitter from there?

Any other solutions? Does anyone know how to create a Twitter epiphany amongst thirty sceptical maths specialists?

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2 Responses to “Unsticking the stuck”

  1. bobbie gardner July 8, 2010 at 1:59 am #

    Do a tutorial, get them on it, show them how to add people, exploit and highlight the real time goodness, how by asking a question to your followers they reply instantly, show them how to make use of the search engine facilities, lists. Basically they need hand holding, a social media surgery starring yourself!

  2. Tom Barrett July 10, 2010 at 3:32 am #

    I would second what Bobbing has said. The best is to show your own network in action. Demonstrate a tweet you found a useful link from. Show a simple exchange you have had on Twitter. Show them that there is no geographical constraints in these type of networks.

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