Last Thursday was my last IB Art lecture for the year. It was the second time that I tried rolling out a back channel using a Twitter wall. Last time I used Tweetbeam, which was okay, but it proved to be a little bit slow, and the way it kept scrolling through old tweets wasn’t great. I used Twijector this time, and although the format was dull, it seemed to work better.
The real key differentiator was invited my colleague Melaina to guest moderate the discussion. Although participation was mostly limited to about five students (out of thirty or so who attended — there were sports conflicts), the quality of the contributions was much better. I’d love to continue to use the back channel for my lectures next year. I’m very uneasy lecturing these days; I far prefer student-centered instruction. However, there are fifty IB Art students in the eleventh grade, so lecture is the obvious format if I’m going to work with them all at the same time once in a blue moon.
The set-up time is problematic. We projected the Twitter wall on a second, portable screen in the MDA Conference room, and that required help from IT. In the future I could ditch the wall concept and just run the back channel through the students’ devices, but then no adult is looking to see what’s going on in the conversation (unless I’m glancing at it on my screen while presenting).
Warts and all, I’m still glad I summoned the energy to make it happen. If I want to demonstrate leadership in the school in the area of technology integration, then I have to live it and be an example.