Since our first successful use of the #twalk model in May 2017, a number of #twalks have used the model in different situations. Our experience and understanding of the #twalk is growing. A number of us involved in trialing this in May 2017 at a MELSIG event, which focused on the topic of digital placemaking, decided to submit a workshop proposal to the #SocMedHE17 conference. Within the proposal, we promised to run a #twalk within the conference.
Running any Twalk is ambitious albeit laudable, but running one within a conference workshop is audacious. We decided to be audacious! From audacity comes innovation. When you have five other dispersed co-presenters, one of whom was never added to the twitter planning group and one who set it up but was not currently monitoring twitter, the chances of real innovation increase significantly 😉 . Ooh yes, one presenter can’t make it. And that other one… well, they’re not making it either, are they?! (And then you walk into the conference and she is there anyway! The joy of it!
What happens, of course, is you have one or two people who do the prep the others are named because without their contributions earlier on none of this would have happened anyway. This is one of the reasons I like collaborating because in your own way you make your contribution whenever you have the skills, ideas, or energy. Voila! An excellent and apparently carefully crafted plan is devised and everything ready to run like clockwork!
In fact, we were over-prepared, turning up with two sets of team badges! Right, back to the #minitwalk – how did we reinvent the #twalk and demonstrate its versatility?
The versatility of the #twalk model
Normally a #twalk is linear: 5 destinations in one hour covered by one team in each locale connected via a twitter hashtag.
We changed things around a little for our conference #minitwalk.
We had 10 destinations, with two each covered by four teams in our locale and teams elsewhere managed their twalk to suit their numbers. There were just 20 minutes available for the twalk, but this worked perfectly for our topic on informal learning spaces. Yes, it was rushed with 10 minutes for each space, but I think it was ideal for engaging people with key ideas in an experiential setting.
For me, one of the key questions with active learning is what do you do with what you have created and learnt? The four groups made it back within the 20 minutes allotted. Almost perfect synchronisation. However, our next task in the workshop was for each team to apply their experience of the Twalk to generating ideas in one of four different discussion groups. We had set up Google Docs to do this. So at this point, our four teams were assigned a document each, and teams located elsewhere were (potentially) allocated the same four Docs (this didn’t happen in reality as we had not firmly established the approach with enough time to communicate this before the workshop began).
The first group back got first choice of conversation topic and so on. On reflection, that worked beautifully. The discussion topics and GD URL were on screen as they sat down and each group made a great contribution right on the back of their invigorating Twalk.
My burning question partially answered
#twalks so far have mostly focused on learning spaces as a topic and I have worried that we won’t explore the wider possibilities and implications. My interest has always been about the #twalk as a learning space. Yes, it is ideal for engaging staff in the topic of learning spaces, but my interest is in how any academic can apply it in their own practice.
For me, this remodeled version works even better as a 20 or 30-minute activity in which students are engaged as walkers. But we’ll see. There are many permutations.
You can read, add to or raise questions about the discussion topics here: https://goo.gl/j31pzk
- Discussion 1 – Benefits of the #Twalk as a learning space – Add to the discussion: There are many benefits to using a #Twalk as a learning space, for example…
- Discussion 2 – Emerging issues – Before rolling out #Twalks at scale here are some of the things we should think about (and how we might address them)
- Discussion 3 – Incorporating other social media – Learning, walking and using tweetchats works great, but here are some other social media we could think about using…
- Discussion 4 – Ideas for using #Twalks in any discipline – We have used #Twalks to think about learning spaces, but they could be used in any discipline. For example,…
Note: This post has been delayed! The conference took place right before Xmas and then I totally ran out of steam! It is good to return to this and reflect on it. I am currently organising further walks at Sheffield Hallam, supporting a subject group to develop a walking CPD model, and I and Alex Spiers have submitted a draft chapter on the Twalk model to a forthcoming book being edited by Chris Rowell, both co-presenters in this workshop.