When I did my Twitter seminar on Friday last week (blog post here) I started with a new activity, and it seemed to work really well. It was something I’d heard about before, but couldn’t find an appropriate time to use.
We started off with a big pile of scrap paper (A4 divided into four were the perfect size), plus a writing implement each. I took a piece of paper and wrote:
As a teacher, one of my biggest problems is giving instructions. What should I do?
To prove this (!) I then told the group that they could either offer me advice or add their own problems. There were a few rules though:
- no talking throughout the activity – the only communication could be on paper
- write your name at the top of each piece of paper so that we can see who the message is on
- one piece of paper per message, and don’t write too small (this is to simulate the ‘soundbite’ nature of Twitter)
- you must place your paper at the end of the line (we had them all arranged on a row of tables), regardless of whether the previous piece of paper was what you were replying to (to simulate the Twitter stream)
The resulting ‘discussion’ was about ten minutes long and went really well. Here are a selection of our ‘tweets’ in no particular order to give you a taste of what we were talking about:
After we’d finished the chat I asked the DELTees how they felt during the chat. This is what they came up with:
The ‘chat’ was stimulating and made the rest of the seminar more interesting (at least, that’s how it felt) as they could really feel how Twitter works. I compared the amount of ‘tweets’ nine of us produced in ten minutes to the amount fifty or sixty of us produce in an hour on #eltchat and that got them really interested.
Two of them have already told me that they’ve signed up, and one more said she would sign up next weekend. This is much higher than my normal 1/12-15 hit rate! I really think this activity made all the difference, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone doing a Twitter for PD seminar, or to try out in class.