Learning and Performance, Learning Community, PLE, PLN, Professional Development, Virtual Communities

Learning and Development on a Backchannel

Lately,  I have been thinking a lot more about backchannels for learning and development (L&D) as I chat with folks involved with networked communitiesIn education, there is no doubt you have heard about a backchannel for learning, whether it was during a conference or at a professional meeting. You’ve most likely even participated in some sort of backchannel — even BEFORE technology crept into your educational practice. Let’s return to the original meaning of the word, shall we:

Backchannel learning is a “covert” way we are sharing our educational experiences online. It’s like we’re in the back of the classroom passing notes — except now it is digital and openly shared, and (probably) more productive than it was when we were younger. Maybe.

Our digital and connected backchannels allow this note-passing to augment what is happening at a specific moment in time. Today’s backchannels offer a way to showcase professional development opportunities, disseminate scholarly research, distribute resources for practice, curate knowledge from an event, and archive the learning so that it “lives” beyond a geographic location, calendar date, etc.

Et Voila: Pull To Open image c/o Flickr user kpwerker

One popular way to participate in a backchannel during a conference is by using the designated Twitter hashtag when posting tweets [Hashtag: A symbol used in Twitter messages, the # symbol, used to identify keywords or topics in a tweet. The hashtag was an organic creation by Twitter users as a way to categorize Twitter messages and link keywords posted on Twitter.] Here is an example of a study comparing #AERA15 & #AERA16 hashtag usage (Kimmons & Veletsianos, 2016).

Increasingly, I see peers tweet quotes from keynotes, articles from scholars, ideas for practice, and I am often entertained by interactions between colleagues I know — all from the comforts of my home office. With a small travel budget and too much data to collect this summer, I appreciate the ability to jump into this type of backchannel to learn about the conversation as these are rich threads that dig into issues and upcoming trends we see in the field. Additionally, if you’re keen you dip into other types of meetings from other organizations to learn more about how their discipline/functional area could influence your own professional work.

Beyond the typical conference or professional meetings, we also see similar traces of L&D happening on a backchannel to be paired with a webinar, business meeting, streaming keynote, and campus program/initiative.

With new technological affordances, there are many other ways we can create backchannels for learning and ways to develop talent. For example, here is how I use Twitter and WordPress as a backchannel with  first-year seminar class, #ugstSTORY [ARCHIVED CLASS]:

I am impressed to see a number of my colleagues use a number of OTHER technologies that are social and connected to create backchannels for L&D online — here are just a few examples– but there are LOADS to search and discover:

  • #phdchat wiki: This is a PBworks archive is from the initiative of the all the Twitter sharing and discussions hosted with the #phdchat hashtag. This community supported me during much of my doctoral research. There is a wealth of information shared and curated on this wiki site. Although this space has not been edited in over 3-years the #phdchat community lives on. Thanks for moderating and cultivating this community, @NSRiazat.
  • Digital Storytelling 106 (#ds106): is an open, online community/course from the University of Mary Washington by instigator(s) of the domain web (ahem… @jimgroom & @cogdog). Course Requirements: a real computer, a hardy internet connection, preferably a domain of your own and some commodity web hosting, and creativity. TUNE into #ds106 radio streaming: http://ds106.us/ds106-radio/
  • Teaching In Higher Ed PodcastSlack Channel: The wealth of information shared in this podcast since June 2014 is amazing and I’m thankful for how Bonni (@bonni208) brings in various guests to support my own professional development for pedagogical planning and to support my own teaching in higher ed. Beyond this regular audio podcast, she also has a community of listeners who she connects to and with via her Slack backchannel and via Twitter.
  • Virtually Connecting (@VConnecting): The virtual buddies bring a small group of on-site and virtual folks together at professional and academic meetings via YouTube Live (formerly Google+ Hangouts) to have a “hallway conversation” about the relevant issues, conference experiences, and to host a conversation at different conference events. They welcome new virtual friends and typically have a Google form for you to complete in advance to sign-up OR you can watch the wealth of archives from previous V-Connecting sessions on their YouTube Channel. Kudos to, and for starting this initiative.

Thinking About Finding a Backchannel for L&D? Here are a few suggestions for hashtag backchannel communities on Twitter:

OR maybe you want to START your own L&D backchannel? Think about your PURPOSE/GOAL first, and then browse these digital spaces and places for initiating a learning backchannel for your professional interests and development:

What digital spaces do you use for your own learning backchannels? How do you engage in professional development via online backchannels? Let me know!

References

Kimmons, R. & Veletsianos, G. (2016). Education Scholars’ Evolving uses of Twitter as a conference backchannel and social commentary platform. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(3), 445—464.

Muñoz, C. L., & Towner, T. (2011). Back to the “wall”: How to use Facebook in the college classroom. First Monday, 16(12).

 

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Learning and Performance, Professional Development, Training & Development

Twitter to Enhance Learning & Performance

Twitter provides the opportunity to have micro-conversations in 140 characters or less. This social media platform has been repurposed by a number of educators for workplace learning. Twitter is not the only form of professional development available and you do not have to tweet to learn.  That being said, an increasing number of educators have repurposed and remixed Twitter for work learning and performance. You would be surprised what 140 characters can do to create community and interaction online. A number of grassroots initiatives have developed for educators to consider Twitter as part of their professional development plans for informal learning, scholarly development, and shared practices. For me, the last seven years spent on Twitter has been invaluable. This platform continues to provide an open, informal learning space to collaborate and banter with a community of educators. Thanks for that, Larry.

Twitter Bird in the Lattice

Flickr photo c/o Brian Kopp

Twitter is really the “water-cooler” for educators to share news, post reports/trends, read the news, review research, ask questions, gather information, and curate knowledge. Educators are increasingly expressing ideas and links to relevant websites, videos, articles, images, etc. related the workforce.  This commentary and resources were shared for my own learners and other training participants who want to “get started” with workplace learning and performance – so I welcome your shared suggestions for helpful Twitter resources and tips in the comments below.

The Twitter Basics:

Hashtags & Backchannels

GotHashtag

Hashtag: A symbol used in Twitter messages, the # symbol, used to identify keywords or topics in a Tweet. The hashtag was an organic creation by Twitter users as a way to categorize Twitter messages and link keywords posted on Twitter. Besides a current event or pop culture reference, Twitter has been an essential part of the conference tool kit to support sharing on the backchannel. You no longer have to be in-person to engage in the workshops, presented talks, or round table discussions via the live experience. There’s now a full stream of activity created around single hashtags for professional development and workplace learning events.

Here are just a few Hashtags to SEARCH and Follow:  

  • #AcWri (academic writing)
  • #highered
  • #digped
  • #edtech and #onlinelearning
  • #phdchat and #gradchat and #SAdoc
  • #Open and #OER and #openaccess
  • #acadv (academic advising)
  • #StudentAffairs and #sachat
  • And MORE!
  • P.D. hashtags related to your field and conferences, e.g. 2015 Education and Ed Tech Conferences [Psssst… you can add to it if  I’m missing any!]

What Is a Twitter Chat and How to Make the Most of ItTwitter chats are threaded discussions using a hashtag to dialogue about a specific subject.Twitter chats are linked conversations via a single hashtag that participants can search, follow, and include in their own Tweet as they respond during the Twitter chat time. Twitter chats are similar to online chats, forums, or discussion boards; however, they are often synchronous and active during a designated date and time. The hashtag for many chats continues past the “live” event on Twitter for others who want to share and engage. Some Twitter chats guide the discussion or have open topics central theme, while others Twitter chats are moderated in a structured question-response format. E.g. Edu Chat Calendar http://bit.ly/educhatcalendar and the Twitter Directory from IHE. 

Other Twitter Tips & Resources:

Professional Development, Research

Got Hashtag? [Gathering Edu & Ed Tech Conference Hashtags]

HashtagLauraI am wrangling up hashtags from all 2015 education and education conferences. If you know of a conference with a hashtag, let me know. ADD the conference name, hashtag, and the conference website HERE (or here http://goo.gl/6Uvlvs).

Giddy up!

AcAdv, NACADA Tech, nacada10, Reflections

Academic Advisors + @AcAdvChat = #AcAdv Chat Network

For my colleagues in higher education, WHERE do you get new ideas, resources, and share information about academic advising?

  • Is it just down the hall from your office in the break room near the water-cooler or coffee pot?
  • Do you connect with others at a regional or national conference every year?
  • Or is there an opportunity to connect with other faculty and professional advisors at your campus for a training and development session?
  • Is it through a professional association listserv, e-mail list or discussion board?
  • On a Facebook page/group, LinkedIn Discussion, or another social media platform?

BUT wouldn’t it be great if you had a regular space and place to have these conversations, ask questions, share trends & issues, utilize a professional sounding board, and connect to  advising colleagues at other institutions about academic advising? {A small group of advisors asked in October 2010 at #nacada10}

sh

ENTER = @AcAdvChat & the #AcAdv Chat Hashtag

#AcAdv Chat

Since the start we have been fortunate to have a few great people collaborate to support the @AcAdvChat handle and chat each week. The #AcAdv Chat Team helps create weekly chat topic polls, brainstorm questions,  moderate the chat, and update our social media platforms, including those we said goodbye to (Delicious & Posterous), and those  social media sites we still use (Twtpoll, WordPress, Twitter, & Facebook Page) each and every week. THANKS FOR ALL THAT YOU DO! Go team! Here are the #AcAdv Chat-ers current & past from the top (L-R): @AcAdvChat, @sarahhcraddock, @peacox, @laurapasquini, @bilmorrill, @kellyjbailey, @howardsj, @julieclarsen, & @bradpopiolek!

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 12.48.02 PM

Can you believe that we are about to celebrate our 100th @AcAdvChat? It’s true! The #AcAdv tweeps have been busy discussing academic advising issues and happenings in higher education since Fall 2010! Time flies when you’re having fun with the fantastic members in the #AcAdv community.

Join us on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 from 12-1 pm CT for our 100th #AcAdv Chat.

100-fireworks

To honor this milestone with our #acadv chat friends, we thought it would be great to share WHY YOU PARTICIPATE in #AcAdv Chat. Let us know how we got to this 100th #AcAdv Chat.  Also, please be sure to  introduce your academic advising colleagues #AcAdv Chat (about) and encourage others to FOLLOW @AcAdvChat on Twitter. Thanks!   Now let us know…

“Why do you #AcAdv Chat?”

 

{This message is cross-posted at the AcAdvChat WordPress Blog}

Micro-Blogs

HOW TO: Set Up a Twitter Account

  1. Go to http://twitter.com and find the sign up box, or go directly to https://twitter.com/signup.
  2. Create a Twitter account. If you are creating a Twitter account for a specific purpose or class requirement, you might want to read Disposable Twitter Accounts for Classroom Use by @ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  3. Enter your full name, email address, and a password.
  4. Click “Sign up for Twitter.”
  5. On the next page, you can select a username (usernames are unique identifiers on Twitter) — type your own or choose one Twitter suggests. Twitter will tell you if the username you want is available.
  6. Double-check your name, email address, password, and username.
  7. Click Create my account. You may be asked to complete a Captcha to let Twitter know that you are human and not a spam bot.
  8. Twitter will send a confirmation email to the address you entered on sign up, click the link in that email to confirm your email address and account.
  9. Add a photo (preferably a head shot) and write a short bio about you.

Resources:
Twitter in Plain English – YouTube http://bit.ly/ruNe4g
How to Sign Up for Twitter via the Twitter Help Center
A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter via ReadWriteWeb
Twitter Basics [VIDEO] http://www.jasonrhode.com/twitterbasics
45 Simple Twitter Tips Everyone Should Know About | Edudemic
7 Free Tools For Integrating Twitter With Your WordPress Blog
BreakDrink Twitter Guide http://breakdrink.com/twitter-guide/

Hashtags & Backchannels
Hashtag: A symbol used in Twitter messages, the # symbol, used to identify keywords or topics in a Tweet. The hashtag was an organic creation by Twitter users as a way to categorize Twitter messages and link keywords posted. Our class will use #ugstJOUR hashag on Twitter.

What Are Hashtags? via the Twitter Help Center
#Hashtag + Community = Learning? « TechKNOW Tools
How Hashtagging the Web Could Improve Our Collective Intelligence via Mashable
Backchannel in Education – Nine Uses
10 Ways Twitter Is Reinventing the College Lecture – Online Universities