I do not think we will ever know, or be able to gauge the full impact of educational based tweets and blogs on individuals and therefore schools and society as a whole. Why? . . . because all the time ‘silent communication’ is going on.
What do I mean by ‘silent communication’, reading but not commenting/not engaging in dialogue. I admit to being guilty of this myself. I read a quote that inspires me, I follow a link to a tool or technique that challenges and motivates me to improve practice, or I read the ideas and reflections of others from around the world which widens and deepens my understanding, but I do not always comment.
Why don’t I comment? Often I am not ready there and then to respond, I need time to reflect, to allow thoughts and ideas to percolate within me, to challenge and re-shape how I view and do things. Then the moment is lost and with all that has happened in between I have moved on to another meeting or task. I may be changed by what I have read but the person who made the original post may never know.
Does this matter? In some ways yes and in some ways no. People always value and benefit from constructive feedback. Comments can encourage people and spur them on, as well as enable them to consider different viewpoints. Equally, I think it is an inevitability that we generally do not comment because many of us access more links than we can engage in fully, therefore we cannot realistically comment on them all. Hopefully we will share with others in the light of what we have read, even if there is no dialogue back to the person who posted in the first place.
I feel challenged on-going to try to create more links from articles I feel are particiluarly good to Twitter or to re-tweet a helpful or thought provoking tweet, or to leave a brief message in the comments section of a blog, at worst saying ‘this has given me food for thought’ even if I am not ready to articulate more than that at the time. This gives some feedback to the person who has posted. Otherwise it can feel like you are posting into a vacuum, with no connectivity to others.
We need to make the most of the global opportunities for two-way conversation via Twitter and through blogs. To encourage one another and to refine our thinking and actions, to help move teaching and learning forward.
What do you think?