The ideal way to work and survive online - dual screens!
Tonight (Thursday) at 8pm, I'll be doing a little Continuing Professional Development but not the sort of sitting in a lecture hall or training room. I'll be doing it from the comfort of the couch as I take part of an online discussion group on Twitter. Yes, I know I could be just spending the time watching rubbish on tv, but in fairness, it really is rubbish, I don't just call it that as a saying!

Firstly for those who don't know how this works, and considering you may have looked at twitter and seen either nothing if you just had an account but no friends in it, or if you looked at the full live stream of 10's of millions of tweets/posts. To make a work-around so that people without any real connection could interact, and also so that 'trends' could take place, the use of special tags (hashtags) are utilized.

How do you use it? In short, just tag a specific word with the # before it. For example, in my hobbies, I rock climb a lot, so I'd add the hashtag #climbing or #training (or both). Other major examples. during the major Iranian protests a year or so ago, everything took place under the hashtag #iranelection. You'll also notice on the Twitter homepage that they always have links to the "trending topics" - this is actually taken from the hashtags that people use!

The idea of an education-based discussion started up at some point in the USA (under the term 'edchat'), but to facilitate users in the UK and the different timezone, a new version was created with the hashtag #ukedchat - a much better description and explanation of it all can be found here also.

I've always wondered since looking at these in the past few months - would something like this work with pupils? I know quite a few of them have Twitter accounts now so would it be possible to get them to interact in a discussion (perhaps a different one per subject one or two nights a week). There'd have to be some liasons potentially so that topics were similar but would it work?

The evolution of the smartphone