*I will participating in and writing reflections about Twitter chats with the games4ed hashtag this semester. Here is the second of those reflections.
A few weeks back I participated in a Twitter chat, as with the previous Twitter chat I reflected on, the participants organised their thoughts and answers to thinking prompts by tagging their tweets with #games4ed and then following that hashtag to follow along with the conversation. This twitter chat, that took place on April 27th, had a theme of gamejams and was facilitated by Melissa Pilakowski (@mpilakow).
I wanted to experiment with my participation during this twitter chat, with the hope of determining how effective the twitter chat format is for on the go mobile learning. The initial twitter chat I had participated in I did so at home sitting at my computer. I found it to be a mostly comfortable experience where I could follow the main conversation and any side conversations that came up in multiple windows on my laptop. But even with the option of contributing on multiple windows I felt that by the end I had fallen out of step with the main conversation by responding to the threads of tangential conversations. I hypothesized that the troubles I had in keeping up with the main thread of the conversation would only be exacerbated by trying to contribute with my phone and on the go. I still wanted to see if I could participate with the phone because Twitter is, at its core, a mobile communication platform and an avenue for on the go learning. I decided that for this chat I would only participate with my phone to know what the experience was like and to think of ways to tailor the experience for the mobile user.
Needless to say that it was much more difficult to keep up with the conversations during the twitter chat on my phone, I just did not have the texting dexterity to keep up with the rapid fire questions and responses. It also did not help that I had minimal background with the topic of gamejams. I decided to keep my contributions minimal so that I could focus on reading the responses from others and to grow my knowledge base around how to plan and implement a gamejam. Doing this lead me to read more of the responses, and provide some quick interactions, mostly “liking” the ideas of others, before formulating and sharing my answer to the posted questions, generally right as a new question was posted.
I did have one short but encouraging side conversation with the discussion moderator when I indicated that I was interested in gamejams to bring students together in the summer to keep math engagement up.
Then through reading, synthesizing, and finally responding I was able to learned more about what hosting a gamejam for my group of math intervention students would require, and provide my newly formulated opinions of how I would approach hosting a gamejam. Like how to get the word out to participants for the jam:
What range of activities would be available at the gamejam:
Why gamejams are valuable as educational experiences:
What the goals for the gamejam:
And finally what role do I see for myself as the facilitator in the gamejam:
My experiment with participating in a twitter chat while using a mobile device was challenging because of the speed that questions were posted made keeping up with the conversation hard but in no way impossible. I felt that I got more depth out of the conversations that I contributed to when participating on my computer, but it was convenient to use my phone especially because I was away from home. If twitter chats were developed to be more mobile friendly I might suggest that the length of the chats are extended, instead of an hour for the entire chat with new questions introduced every few minutes, the chats could be spread over multiples hours with one question shared each hour, giving participants the time to engage in both the main discussion and the side conversations that are sparked by the main thread. Weaving participation in the twitter chat in conjunction with other life activities.