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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tweet Sheet: Active Listening for Deeper Learning

Twitter optimizes my learning. During conferences and lectures, I'm able to tweet my connections, questions and suggestions/reflections to my PLN.  This rapid synthesis helps me to make meaning from the presenters' words and research.  My interactions with other listeners via Twitter helps me to understand the speakers' viewpoints from many different angles.  The learning becomes active, broad and deep, rather than passive listening.  Also the learning continues as others tweet back during the lecture or conference and afterwards.  Finally, a solid blog post helps me to solidify my learning and questions for future inquiry.  It's a dynamic process.

When I teach, students are always raising their hands and calling out.  They want to be part of the action.  They don't want the learning to be a passive event.  I understand that.  I'm not ready to let them tweet throughout lessons because at their age they simply would become too distracted.  Instead, I created the Tweet Sheet.  The tweet sheet allows students to take "question, connection, suggestion/reflection" notes while a presenter is giving a talk or a student/teacher is explaining a concept.  Then when the presenter has a "stopping point" for comments, the students can refer back to their notes to offer a connecting comment, question, suggestion or reflection.  The "tweet sheet" prompts students to become active listeners and learners during presentations.

Today, I'll employ the Tweet Sheet during our researchers' meeting.  During the meeting, students will share their questions, comments and suggestions regarding our current endangered species research and multimedia composition project.  As I answer questions, others will want to call out their connections, questions and suggestions, but instead I'll ask them to write down thoughts and wait for their turn instead.  Then, as quickly and thoughtfully as I can, I'll get around to the questions, suggestions and connections of my 24 researchers.

Take a look at the  Tweet Sheet.  If you use it, let me know how it goes Please comment if you have any suggestions for improvement.  It's a bit of "back channeling" for an elementary school classroom.