Twitter as the Viral WEB 2.0 Engine.
I was thinking about twitter and its classification as a web 2.0 tool, I think however that it sits in a classification of its own, a “Viral Web 2.0 Engine.” What does this mean? Well internet folk of whatever disposition have been using WEB 2.0 tools for collaboration, trying to create communities of interest but not having the viral engine which allows connections and networks to grow and be sustained. Twitter enables this to happen as it carries the life force of Web 2.0 to areas of the internet universe, to appropriate a phrase from a well known product it refreshes the places where other viral tools failed to reach.
I can relate this to my experience – Since using twitter my internet universe of experience has grown exponential, twitters have shared their experiences of on-line products, ideas, blogs, communities which has enabled me to move from an internet consumer to an internet consumer/producer. By connecting with the right people through twitter I feel that I can come to terms with the enormity of the project and have a better connection with what works rather than as an individual, trying to re-invent the wheel of experience.
Taking this idea that twitter is a viral Web 2.0 engine, I was envisaging how this technology could be used to invigorate the use of VLEs in secondary schools. Such VLEs are now commonplace in secondary schools (UK), but exploiting their community and Web 2.0 potential is difficult and requires a lot of valuable time investment by lead learners. Many have come repositories for content developed by lead learners since the last millennium. Lead learners are now facing the issue of creating new content in new interactive formats which needs a huge amount of investment of time. Learners will still be barred from the productive end of learning and still be consumers of information.
To enable learners to become producer/consumers of learning, twitter could be employed as the engine of change. Twitter encourages informal networks to form around a topic and by allowing learners access to the content and the web 2.0 tools available from a VLE (or learning platform) learning can form around the productive learning needs of learners rather than the requirement at the moment for learners to be consumers of learning.
In an imaged example, a learner could be searching for content on the VLE around the topic of gravity. This learner could find various examples of content developed over the years and decide to share this on twitter. If another learner opens this and decides that the content needs developing, adding extra multi media explanations, then a twitter hash group could be developed around the issue of #gravity-learning. Within the VLE, new WEB 2.0 tools can be employed to make this a reality, such as a discussion, wiki, around this subject and the development of this learning shared via twitter.
The viral and mobile aspect of twitter means that learners are always near their learning, and always have the opportunity to contribute, to produce, to be active in their learning whenever their motivation takes them.