What data points are needed to demonstrate learning?

Tweetorial Week

This week, we participated in a Tweetorial as a part of the course. These weeks always come with a bit of dread because I’m not a fan of Twitter. I find the platform chaotic and rude. Rarely, have I opened Twitter and after 20 minutes of scrolling metaphorically walked away enlightened, happy, or relaxed.

I also find the notifications quite distracting throughout the day because in comparison to others like Instagram that often just tells ‘here’s some new accounts to follow’, Twitter notifications have a different sense of urgency and thought weight associated to them.

In this context, I decided to track my actual and emotional engagement with the platform this week. The question I was asking myself was even if I didn’t receive a notification, was I still thinking about Twitter.

Notifications, Reading Tweets, Engaging (i.e. liking, retweeting, or responding), and thinking about Twitter

The image above represents my week in 7 lines with Monday being the first and Sunday the last. The four horizontal lines divide the day up into 6 hour chunks, the bottom being from 00:01 – 06:00.

  • Blue represents a received notification
  • Purple represents reading content in Twitter
  • Turquoise represents engaging (i.e. liking, retweeting, or responding)
  • Yellow represents any time I found myself thinking about Twitter or the activity

Note: I concluded the activity around the time I started writing this blog post and turned off all notifications from Twitter again.

There was little activity on Monday as I read about the Tweetorial late in the evening when checking the course website. The week was quieter as well sine the activity itself had finished, but I had forgotten to turn off all Twitter notifications, so they were still popping up on my phone.

The middle of the week has the most activity as I opened the app every evening to engage with the question posed. What I found was that it took quite some time to read through the tweets from classmates to see what was happening in the conversation prior to engaging with the question myself.

The notifications themselves came in at any time dependent on other student activity and any other ‘older’ notifications that I had set up before creating a new Twitter account for the course. Enabling the notifications opened a can of worms as I had no memory of what I’d previously set up and as a consequence became very distracted as the flood of notifications was constant.

To answer my question – I was thinking about Twitter often throughout the week. This occurred as I saw notifications pop up on my phone, but also when ‘nothing’ was happening. I would think back to a particular response, or if I had anything else to add to the conversation.

In a way, the thinking became a useful way to passively engage with the course as the week progressed. This reflection in particular made me reflect further about the responses posted on what data is collected in learning platforms, and if it actually correlates to learning.

For example, if a student is thinking about a video watched and has a conversation about it outside of the platform, how would the teacher (or data collector know) if this was not recorded in the platform? They would only have access to the fact that the student watched the video, how many times they watched it, and if they answered any questions, commented, etc about. Nothing outside of the platform would be tracked, yet that doesn’t mean the student is not learning while engaging in the outside conversation.

6 replies on “Tweetorial Week”

Thanks for this, I found this really helped me to think about the tutorial week also. I like the idea of passive engagement and thinking about the content through another ‘set of eyes’ as it were. I think too often we try to get through the reading or whatever without taking the time just be immersed in the learning.

This is a really superb visualisation, and a great start to your blog. Focusing on emotional engagement with Twitter is a really interesting context for thinking about quantification and visualisation. Your visualisation is really clear, and one can quickly get a sense of a pattern to your engagement. However, I did immediately think that the – very stylish – minimal style of your visualisation didn’t really convey ’emotion’ in itself, and I wondered if this was intentional? This is something data visualisation is supposed to do, isn’t it? Remove anything other than the ‘facts’.

‘Twitter notifications have a different sense of urgency and thought weight associated to them.’

Really good reflections on Twitter here, and I would have to agree. Sorry to hear that the prospect of the Tweetorials fills you with dread! At least I hope they provide you with some opportunities for reflection, which I think you’ve demonstrated well here – Twitter is definitely a space to question and critique rather than embrace. I certainly think the sense of ‘urgency’ sometimes works against scholarship.

I also wondered if developing the data about ‘thinking’ could be one direction to go here. I found myself wondering, ‘what *were* you thinking?’, and this might have provided more insight that you could connect to notions of ‘learning’. Of course, ‘what one is thinking’ is rather difficult to quantify, but would raise lots of interesting issues about how this might be recorded and categorised.

Nevertheless, your idea of surfacing ‘thinking’ here – an aspect of learning that is too often hidden, as you rightly point out – is a great approach to the task.

This all looks very interesting, Lisa! Indeed, tracking thinking must be challenging. It may include a fleeting thought as well as long deep reflection. All of it can be part of learning.

In your drawing, there are intervals with nudges and reading that don’t include any thinking about Twitter. How is that possible?

Do you believe that technology will be able to track what we are thinking about any time soon?

Great question about the symbols and how a few don’t have a ‘thinking’ mark next to them! For the notifications, it was because I didn’t see the notification right then. I saw the notification a bit later when I looked at my phone and recorded the notification.

For the reading interaction, I wasn’t tracking the ‘thinking’ as I was focused on reading and response actively, and not thinking as in reflection. I wanted to see them as two separate activities – one actively engaged in Tweeter (reading) and the other as passively thinking about what I had read.

Technology may be there soon, but I’m not sure that I’d want to be a first adopter! There could be some embarrassing things coming out of that…

Hi, that’s an interesting visualization! I can see that you are not a big fan of Twitter! Maybe what you can do, you can turn off all the notifications. That’s what I do. This way, you will access it not when Twitter wants to access, but when you want to access it!

For the future, maybe you can research your feelings when interacting with Twitter, it would be interesting to see it! And maybe it would help you to understand what specifically annoys you.

It would definitely be interesting to track emotions on a deeper level next time we do the activity! That’s a great suggestion. Truth be told of the time, my Twitter notifications are turned off. The main reason they were on this week was simply for the Tweetorial for the course.

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