Yesterday, my 2nd year students were required to present their research findings to the rest of the class. While they did so, I sat in the corner, listening and watching—and tweeting along with the rest of the students. The ‘conversation’ was projected onto our 2nd monitor at the side of the room.
It was interesting to see how the presenters reacted to this flowing conversation. In their groups of 4/5, one person was talking, one was operating the presentation slides and the others, instead of typically standing like a block of wood feeling out of place, were instead reading the feeds and interjecting with responses to the questions and comments.
I had not expected them to do this but, on reflection, it makes sense. They’ve seen me doing it for the past two weeks, after all.
I don’t know about anyone else but I sometimes find watching a number of presentations in a row a bit of a challenge. It’s difficult to keep one’s interest (particularly if all the presentations are about pretty much the same thing). However, it seems to me that both the students and I were more focussed, listening for comments about which to tweet and asking questions—and getting answers from other students as well as the presenters.
I was particularly pleased to see links being added to the tweets. I went digging during one particular presentation and found the URL for the piece of research, posting it as a tweet. Other students started doing the same thing, linking to other bits of research or to other websites with similar information.
So the saved PDF of the whole conversation now contains a number of interesting links which students (and I) could use in the future. Helpful.
In conclusion, the presenters were more engaged while presenting and the audience were more engaged (reflecting, questioning, connecting). Definitely doing this again.