Whilst I tried Twitter last year in a 9th grade class, it really didn’t grab their attention. I figure this is a generational thing, as it’s hard to go past MSN Messenger if you are a teenager.
One of the effects of building a Learning Community (this one has 150 plus students), is that they post at home, so we are seeing posts well after the end of the school day.
As we are scaffolding and promoting ‘reflective learning’, we are encouraging them to ask questions and make considered comments.
As we are not about to ask teachers and students to have conversations in MSN Messenger, I wanted to find a way in which we can offer a ‘live’ communication channel.
I know (from a previous life in advertising) that if you want people to come back often to a website, then you have to make it sticky. I think that Shout Mix will add something extra.
I tried Meebo, but I saw that as more of an IM funnel. With ShoutMix’s ‘shout board’, I get a number of benefits.
- A live conversation during class time between students – often students are not in close proximity to each other when working in groups.
- A micro-twitter channel – in which we can leave messages and links (it auto converts URLS)
- Out of school communication channel.
- Comments from people outside school
- High levels of filtering and archiving of text, user control and moderation.
- Can be managed online, outside of the Learning Community – even by mobile phone
- Advertising free.
- Custom CSS and Embed sizing.
We can use it for group discussion – as we are using a ‘think, pair, share’ classroom activity – Shoutbox can be used to record the output of these discussions – so it can also be used for micro-blogging.
It may of course get pulled if the students go too crazy – but just like teaching them about ‘digital reputation’ when it comes to working online, we are also keen to show them that IM can be used for ‘work’ and not just for social discourse.
If you want to check out the students work and leave a message – then feel free. I’ll post some more on how it goes next week – I am hoping that our work in promoting ethics and digital reputation will on flow into their use of this. I didn’t disable the IM client in Moodle (the LMS), and that hasn’t once raised a concern, so I really hope that staff and students use ShoutMix to do more than chat … micro blogging, micro tweeting … only time will tell.