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#TwitterBookRead September 1, 2010

Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD, Inspiration, research.
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Well that proved a really interesting experiment . . . but did I gain anything from it?

Read a book

from bethan on Twitter

If you missed the tweets, yesterday I tried using Twitter to record my progress and any points of interest as I read a book – Curriculum 21 by Heidi Hayes Jacobs.  There’s a little more about it here.  I guess I wanted to find out whether it added anything to the process of reading, reading for academic purposes that is, as opposed to reading for pleasure.  Had I been reading the book sans Twitter, I’d have made notes as I went.  If you want to pick up the record of what took place, there’s a Twapper Keeper archive here, but because a few Tweets didn’t have the hashtag, I scanned back through the stream and pulled them into the document below:

View this document on Scribd

On the ‘upside’ then:

  1. 140 characters meant I had to really focus on the contents and structure of the ‘notes’ I was taking, so that they still carried meaning.
  2. The ‘chronology’ of the stream means the notes follow the order of the book.
  3. Having occasional comments from other tweeple challenged me to revisit some of my notes and rephrase them, or think more deeply about what I’d noted.
  4. It’s very encouraging when others are taking an interest in what you’re studying (a very important point methinks!)

On the ‘downside’:

  1. I perhaps wasn’t as prolific in my notetaking as I would normally have been, conscious of not wishing to pollute the Twitterstream too much with my ramblings (folks can get very tetchy!)
  2. Sometimes squeezed a little too hard to fit the message into 140 characters and consequently may have lost meaning.
  3. The ‘linear’ nature of the stream meant that cross-linking ideas and concepts wasn’t really possible; I’ll often take notes in the form of a mind map, if I think I can gain something.
  4. Although the stream is linear, some of the additional comments and follow-up replies come out of order.  This can make the archive a little hard to follow.

So weighing the balance of the above, the obvious question I guess is ‘what next?’  How (or should) I take it any further?  Well it’s a start and having done it once, repeating the process with another book would enable some of the wrinkles to be ironed out.  I certainly think I’d like to be on the receiving end; watching someone else take the lead and contributing as an observer.  With that in mind, earlier today John Pallister made a couple of interesting comments by way of follow up:

Tweets from John Pallister

Now there’s an idea!  If other people undertook the task when they’re reading, we could begin to form a library of summaries of interesting literature.  Better than simple summaries though because they would have the additional layer of comments from others who had joined in.  #TwitterBookRead as John termed it.  It’s a win-win-win endeavour surely:

  1. the reader is perhaps encouraged to think more carefully about the ‘notes’ s/he is making, in the same way creating a blog post often makes us think twice before hitting the keys
  2. collaborators/observers can dip in and out as they are able, enjoying the opportunity to contribute to the final product
  3. all get access to a swelling archive of summarised books, enabling them to make a more informed choice before parting with their hard-earned on the full version . . . or maybe find inspiration and pointers to books they might have otherwise missed.

Anyone up for taking this further?

And perhaps this doesn’t have to be restricted just to the edtech community in Twitter.  Surely there are potential benefits for our learners, whether they be students in higher ed or primary or secondary for that matter.  Working together to review/summarise/précis books or longer articles using the 140 character format could involve a host of different skills.  In a single activity, there are opportunities to work up through the levels in Bloom’s taxonomy, undertaking increasingly complex tasks, leading to a higher levels of understanding surely than just reading an article/book sitting at a desk or lounging on a couch?  Reading with a purpose surely?

Just needs fleshing out a little.  Anyone?

(Footnote:  If you want to see a much more elegant and thorough summary of the book itself, then check out this post from Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches) – it’s what inspired me to buy the book)

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Comments»

1. Tweets that mention #TwitterBookRead « In the pICTure -- Topsy.com - September 3, 2010

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ian Guest, Ian Guest. Ian Guest said: Is this the finishing line for #hhjc21 ? http://bit.ly/a2Cwik or has @John_Pallister come up with a brilliant idea in #TwitterBookRead ? […]

2. Heidi Hayes Jacobs - September 4, 2010

I have had a number of colleagues send me a reference to your twitter-note-making blogpost regarding our book, Curriculum 21:Essential Education for a Changing World (ASCD). In response, there is value in distillation because it brings text interaction to its essence. Of course, there is the flip side- the possibility to expand and to extrapolate. I am interested in taking your example and looking at using the tweets as a distilling method and then moving those tweets into expansion. I will likely post the resulting expansions on our website.

Thanks for considering our book and taking the time to work through the ideas and possibilities posited by our authors. Heidi Hayes Jacobs

ianinsheffield - September 4, 2010

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to this post and thanks too for assembling such an stimulating (and eclectic) series of themes in C21.

Though I’m still to be convinced that Tweeting as-you-go provides enough additionality for *me* in the way it progressed, I do feel there’s potential in exploring the social/collaborative element for groups of students working with academic texts. We’ll see what develops.

Looking forward to seeing whether you’re able to take it forward on http://www.curriculum21.com/


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