A particular line from an email I received recently keeps coming back to my mind and making me reflect (the full email can be found in my post from March 15 – “Dumber or Just Different?“):
We have even seen some of our faculty peers engaging in technological multi-tasking by tweeting each other during presentations (so-called “back-channeling”).
If you are a teacher, educator, or school person, do you believe in note taking? Do you encourage, or expect, or even require that your students take notes? Do you assume that note takers are dutifully engaged and processing the information? Do you think that the notes can be used later to remind and refresh the thinking of the note taker? Do you sometimes ask a student who is not taking notes, “Hey, don’t you think you should be taking notes on this stuff?” Perhaps you even use a stronger prompt to elicit a note-taking response. Have you ever considered that note taking is “multitasking?”
Well, tweeting is just a form of note taking! Dare I write it…”21st Century Note Taking!” However, tweeters leverage technology to enrich their notes and interaction with whatever is the source of discussion on the “so-called ‘back-channel.'” Do you ever wish, or have you ever wished, that you could see someone else’s notes? Just a peek, so that you can calibrate your note taking and discover what the other person thinks is interesting, important, or needs-to-be-remembered. Now you can! Just join the hashtag of the back-channel and explore what other engaged note takers are thinking, asking, responding to, contemplating, etc. Perhaps there are too many people in the room for everyone to have a fair shake at audible-voice air time. No worries. Now more people in the room have a voice. One does not have to concentrate on injecting one’s thoughts into the audible conversation, but of course one can do both – tweet and discuss out loud. In fact, in my experience the two forms of participation complement and expand and encourage each other.
Note takers have always been multi-taskers. Now, many are simply “smarter” about it. The connected note takers realize the value of shared, collective, collaborative notes. WE are smarter than me.
Maybe the tweeters understand the advantages to flying in a flock, rather than flying solo.