You may have seen this go through your Twitter feed recently…

A Twitter Rubric…

And as you might expect, it was retweeted by quite a few people. 

I’m wondering about the need for a Twitter rubric.

To me, this represents an attempt to force fit the use of a dynamic social media tool into a familar, comfortable, and safe structure, the rubric.  Fit, jam, prod and force the tool into something that is articifical and constraining.

Why must a teacher define what represents exemplary use of Twitter for a student?

Exemplary use is using tinyurls to effectively stay within the 140 character limit. 

Seriously?  What if I don’t want to use a URL shortener?  So what if the tweet gets too long.  What about a second tweet?  The last time I checked, tweets were free.

Why do teachers have to own the tool?

If I’m a student, I now have a choice, but the wrong one.  Use the tool as I see fit for my needs, or succumb to the wishes of the teacher who wants me to use it as they have defined it, all in the name of giving the use a grade…

We all know what they’ll do.

But why not give them a real choice?  Maybe they’ll use Twitter, maybe they’ll use Facebook, maybe they’ll use index cards.  Why limit choices?  Why limit how they use a particular tool?  Why be so prescriptive?

I’d rather think that educators would give students a palette to choose from.  You select how you want to represent your ideas, and you describe for me how well they worked, or didn’t work.  Describe for me your growth throughout the learning experience, and the role that the particular tool or tools of your choosing had in that experience. There’s your assessment.

If you haven’t see the work of Dave Cormier, George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Rita Kop in their PLENK2010 course, I highly recommend it.  It’s a refreshing and innovative approach that emphasizes student choice and empowerment in how they choose to learn, and how they choose to represent their understanding.

If connective technologies and networking experiences have taught us anything, they should have taught us about the freedom to connect, engage, and project our ideas, in our own ways.  They should have taught us about how important individual choice can be in learning.

Why don’t we offer the same to our kids?

 

Posted via email from djakes’ posterous

5 Responses to “Retrofit. A Twitter Rubric?”
  1. In an effort to be more accountable we’ve gone a little nuts. We’re trying to rubricize everything. Twitter is a great example of something that has far too many uses to try and fit it into a simple grid. Lots of good learning is like this.

    Even if you decide to have students use twitter, which may not always be a great idea, a simple reflection of learning is the best way to assess it, assuming you even need to do that.

  2. Scott McLeod says:

    “What if I don’t want to use a URL shortener? So what if the tweet gets too long. What about a second tweet? The last time I checked, tweets were free.

    Why do teachers have to own the tool?

    If I’m a student, I now have a choice, but the wrong one. Use the tool as I see fit for my needs, or succumb to the wishes of the teacher who wants me to use it as they have defined it, all in the name of giving the use a grade…

    We all know what they’ll do.”

    David, this reminds me of what we’ve done with reading, for example. We’ve taken the joy of being immersed in a good book and then, in the name of accountability and standards and assessment, we’ve attached points and prizes and grades and comprehension note cards and summary outlines and so on and thus killed that joy for many of our students. My daughter loves to read at home but is an unenthusiastic reader at school for exactly this reason.

    Ugh.

  3. Don Burkins says:

    What if we were conceptualizing the use of rubrics as a mode of reflective communication, the focus of joint learning and continual revision… and not a tool for authoritarian judgment? What if rubrics could be discussed by teachers and students – debated, refined? What if we interpreted a rubric such as this one as an attempt to help the digital-immigrant teacher to see increased possibilities in the emerging world of our student natives – not forever fixed in a permanent rubric, but evolving to reflect our shared learning about how to be effective?

  4. Renee Hobbs says:

    Thanks for sharing this, David. This is the kind of silly ed-tech stuff that we need to push back against. We must be centrally in the business of teaching effective communication skills, not Twitter skills.

  5. Frances Burnett says:

    I teach social media usage in management classes for a University. I use a similar rubric so students can see professionalism counts when using social media. This does not define their grade, but it is part of a project based on 250 pts. I have a different rubric for each part of their project. Twitter is just the choice of medium that a student will prefer. Others might simply use email or other ways to communicate (rubrics for the different mediums are also used). The rubric grade is to show how points can be achieved by using this tool. I stopped using the rubric in one class, and I was bombarded with assessment questions. I was embarrassed of how the students communicated to professionals in the industry, and I lost valuable time explaining social etiquette rules. Teaching for twenty years, and only using rubrics in the last five has proven to me that rubrics can be a valuable and powerful self-assessment tool for the student.

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