Unfortunately Mazur was unable to incorporate some of these techniques into his keynote and so, enjoyable as it was, I found myself on a verge of a TV watching state. As is becoming increasingly common when watching the box this was augmented by the ‘second screen’, in this case the #altc2012 twitter stream.
Had I been hooked up to a brain monitor I sure it would have recorded frantic activity trying to report some of the c.170 spam tweets (over 20%) pushed into a UK trending stream. But did I learn anything from the remaining c.600 legitimate tweets? On reflection I don’t recall ‘learning’ anything from the backchannel. One theory is that the backchannel is just an amplifier or repeater. As I recently noted in Notes from the Twitter backchannel at eAssessment Scotland 2012 #eas12 the audience is largely in a rebroadcast or note collection mode which could is evident in the lack of @relies. So there is less peer dialogue, but this doesn’t mean other processes aren’t at work. For example, there may some level of cognition in forming a 140 character tweet which provides the opportunity for internal self dialogue.
So I think I’m adjusting my expectation of the backchannel and taking a leaf out of Sheila MacNeill’s Confessions of a selfish conference tweeter. I still think there are opportunities unpick the discourse from Twitter communities, but just when people are in a different mode like in #moocmooc.
[I really need to blog about how I calculated the number of spam tweets. In the meantime here is a graph of Twitter activity during Eric’s keynote]
*ALT is the Association of Learning Technologists