The Twitter Revolution
Perhaps, you have read the volume of articles asserting that Twitter is revolutionizing the way the world follows current events. Earlier today I watched Michael Jackson’s funeral live and was able to tweet with others in real time. Many of us who are experienced Twitter users know the power of hashtags for carrying conversations and following an event. Sharing with several others your thoughts during a live event is very euphoric and the sharer is often overcome with a sense of unity, empathy, and supercharged emotions! If you haven’t used Twitter, then just think of the people who cry during a sporting event!
Ustream and Hashtags
Ustream, a live video streaming platform, and Twitter search further empower the use of hashtags to communicate. Ustream is a free account which allows the user to broadcast a live video. During this live broadcast, the user’s followers can chat or tweet in a social stream. The tweet option is one of the coolest tools of Ustream. The user can decide to feed the tweets to one account by automatically having everyone’s messages attached with “@user” and the link. The second option, which I am especially excited about, is to have everyone’s messages attached with “#hashtag” and use Twitter search to follow the event.
How Does This Apply to Teacher Professional Development?
Ustream has several features, which make this platform attractive for professional development. I have listed just a few ways to use the service to connect educators:
- Video feature enriches the hashtag discussions you already participate in! #lrnchat is one teacher discussion that takes place in real time. I can see the moderators speaking directly to teachers, presenting materials, or conducting interviews to spark discussion.
- Follow option allows those following your broadcast to be regularly updated with events you post and to have an archive of the broadcasts and chat conversations they missed. The broadcast is your show channel.
- Embed option allows bloggers to post videos to their blogs for their readers to respond and comment. You could encourage your followers to post the event to their blogs and attrack more users to the next event.
- Tip Jar is another remarkable feature which connects to your Paypal account. Your followers can choose to tip you for your time and valuable presentations. Moreover, if you are broadcasting a live conference then this is one way to have online attendees feel as if they are contributing to your organization. For each donation, the organization can provide t-shirts, send the ebook of the guest speaker’s latest book, or offer other rewards.
How Could I Use Ustream for Educational Purposes?
Ustream is additionally an attractive option for teaching! Ways to use this service for educational purposes include:
- Using the chat box to encourage students to discuss topics. The chat box is a more familiar platform for students to carry conversations than Twitter. The chat box limits the amount of people included in the conversation, yet students still get to see the benefits of using Twitter.
- Showing videos of a historical event. Then have students state their opinions to make the learning experience more memorable.
- Integrating student presentations with constructive feedback from their peers. As students give oral presentations their peers can post questions and offer constructive criticism.
- Showing silent films, photographs, or mimed actions. Have students write in their own dialogue, captions, describe or narrate.
Your boot camp challenge for this week:
Sign-up for Ustream and participate in one live event. This experience will allow you to evaluate the website for yourself. Don’t forget to let us know about your experience!