Mud Walling with TwitterChats in #BYOD4L

I notice Kathrine Jensen in Tumblr talking about the value of the #BYOD4L TweetChats.
I really agree. While they are frenetic and difficult to follow they are evidence that you are not alone in real time. I need a variety of noisy and quiet experiences and the TweetChat is my daily noise! The exchange of asides and little taps on the shoulder are all examples of the spirit that exists in #BYOD4L and other good, thriving open learning environments.
I want to talk about mud for a minute.
I used to use a little creativity activity in development sessions I ran. It was an idea generation tool, or rather a tool for filtering ideas that had already been generated; for example in a curriculum design brainstorm. I called it the Mud Wall. The idea was the thousands of Post It Notes (OK, probably tens or hundreds) filled with ideas generated in a session in response to little seeds I’d sown, need to be sorted, clarified and filtered. And this was best done in session by the participants together. I has a massive picture of a house – a bit like a kid’s drawing. Very simple. The doors, windows, roof, garden, walls, bin, lamppost, sky etc all represented different ways of organising and prioritising the ideas – which I won’t explain here. But you get the picture: visual metaphors for speedily reviewing a lot of ideas.
But I called the activity a Mud Wall activity because sticking Post-It’s on a house felt like throwing mud at the wall. Some of the ideas stuck, some didn’t, some got hidden. And that was OK. It was good enough. Nothing actually got lost. But in the moment, the strong ideas stuck out and the ideas individuals wanted to remember were touched by them (they could scrape the mud off and reshape it too!). Everything got archived/transcribed, but in the moment it was clearly impossible for people to remember everything or even most of it. You accept that and it is OK. Later, you might sift and dig a bit deeper (through the mud some of which had dried out and turned to dust in the meantime!).
So what’s this got to do with TwitterChats?

  • tons of ideas and comments are great and nobody is going to read them all now (wait for Storify or revisit the hashtag in your own time)
  • some ideas are good, sound, strong and well formed – many need to be refined through conversation there and then, or the later reflective activities (like this)
  • some make sense to some people – some don’t. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t understand it the person offering the idea/question/comment will re-present it or clarify it if they really need your response. Or you might ask them to explain. Or not.
  • some comments are immediately important, some are blue sky, some are rubbish, some shine a light on something else, etc, etc not all comments are fully formed. And that’s why we value these social activities.
  • etc (there’s always an etc from me in my lists. Just noticed!

So keep throwing the mud – good, bad, partly formed, etc (etc).


About amiddlet50

Educational developer working in academic innovation in higher education in the UK
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