Sharing Our Expertise in Developing Nations

Not to be outdone by his world-travelling wife, my husband Doug just returned from a week in rural Jamaica on a construction project for a school. While there, he and 15 other men from our church repaired plumbing and built a chain link fence, basketball and tetherball courts, and an Internet cafe. He was the prolific blogger of the trip and put to shame my posts to my trip to Africa a few months ago!

On that note, Teachers Without Borders Canada (now known as Education Beyond Borders)┬áis gearing up for return trips to South Africa and Kenya in July-August ’09. The applications for the teams (we are seeking between 15-20 educators – hopefully a multinational team!) can be found on the TWB Canada site. One must join our organization and then the group (South Africa or Kenya) in order to request an application. I will be leading one of the teams to South Africa this time around and am quite excited about the potential line-up of workshops and school visits. We have received an enthusiastic invitation from our NGO contacts there and I am eagerly looking forward to building on the relationships we began last year.

Part Two: From Ridiculous to the Sublime – Twitter

Thanks to Marj and Brandy (fellow nomads in the course) for their advice for my second pass at Twitter. Marj passed along some academic research reports on this phenomenon (some of which were hidden behind a wall) which demonstrates the fascination we have with this communication tool:

Java, A., Song, X., Finin, T., and Tseng, B. 2007. Why we twitter: understanding microblogging usage and communities. In*Proceedings of the 9th WebKDD and 1st SNA-KDD 2007 Workshop on Web Mining and Social Network Analysis* (San Jose, California, August 12 – 12, 2007). http://ebiquity.umbc.edu/_file_directory_/papers/369.pdf
Krishnamurthy, B., Gill, P., and Arlitt, M. 2008. A few chirps about twitter. In *Proceedings of the First Workshop on online Social Networks* (Seattle,
WA, USA, August 18 – 18, 2008). WOSP ’08. ACM, New York, NY, 19-24. DOI=
http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1397735.1397741

Huberman, B., Romero, D., Wu, F., Social Networks that Matter: Twitter Under the Microscope. First Monday 15(1), Jan 2009.
http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2317/2063

Honeycutt, C., and Herring, S. C. 2009. Beyond Microblogging: Conversation
and Collaboration via Twitter. In *Proceedings of the 42nd Hawaii
international Conference on System Sciences – Volume 00* (January 05 – 08,
2009). http://www2.computer.org/portal/web/csdl/doi/10.1109/HICSS.2009.89

Just like so many of the tools out there, it is not inherently valuable to learning – it is what we DO with it and HOW we use it that makes it valuable. And just as with so many other tools, educators have been at the forefront of creating, innovating, and thus exploiting learning opportunites with the tools. I have learned a great deal from these innovators – twitter has permitted me to have vicarious access to their thoughts and experiences in a way that is more immediate, I think, than blogs offer.

In this screencast, I explore just how viral twitter has become, reasons for twittering and some advice and tips from twitter experts.

I am also attempting to embed Jing in the blog post. However, after multiple tries, am giving up for this time!

Twitter Take Two