I tweeted my first lecture tonight. Stephen Abram was a guest of Geelong Regional Libraries, and delivered a rollercoaster ride through the topics of information retrieval, information delivery, and information services (i.e. Internet searching, books & mobile devices, and libraries). At the end of 90 minutes he apologised for going a couple of minutes over time, and the guy beside me said “He can go another couple of hours if he wants!” I think we all felt the same.
I’ve already tweeted a few of Stephen Abram’s points, and some more are on the IDEAS page, so I won’t talk about them now. I want to say how difficult it was to tweet ideas from a lecture. Difficult, but incredibly rewarding. I tried to send something about most of his main points, and almost every time I struggled with the 140 character limit – I really had fewer than 140 because I wanted to add his name, and a hashtag. I think there are three reasons this is a very powerful learning activity:
1. I had to listen very attentively, and because I was trying to summarise the main points, I didn’t zone out like I often do in a 90-minute presentation.
2. Writing summaries is an old trick for people trying to learn in a lecture. Didn’t Plato recommend it? But writing very very short summaries adds a degree of difficulty that forces you to leave out everything except the main idea. And sometimes it is very difficult to put that main idea into words! Thinking around a concept helps you understand it better. Sifting the central idea from a lot of clever analogies and funny anecdotes helps you understand it better. Trimming an idea down to less than 140 characters helps you understand it better!
3. I can go back and look at my tweets and rebuild what Stephen Abram was saying. You could call it revision. You could suggest that I expand these tweets into a full-text summary of the lecture. You could do it yourself from my tweets.
You could. Unfortunately, my brain has just logged off for the night – but I will go back to those points again tomorrow, and that will help me remember more. Who knows, I might even blog about them – there are simply so many Big Ideas there. Lots to think about. But my brain really is shutting down. Even if I ju . . . . . . .