Informed professional debate.

Twitter.  Great innit?

More people are finding it, and using it to chat and develop networks. This is great, but perhaps not as self selecting a group as it was.

Maybe this has to to with the arrival of the Early majority as described in Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation.  I think this is the early majority of the group of teachers capable of engaging in the social network. so probably still the early adopters of the entire teaching population.  The increased population has inevitably led to an evolution in the manner and focus of discussions.  It is a testament to people such as Ewan Mcintosh and others ( who began it all??)  that the wave of teachers discussing the future of education using social media

I enjoy engaging with lots of people on Twitter, but am beginning to find I need to engage with my peers in a discerning forum.

Things that have changed are:

1) More people are less tolerant of having their ideas or terminology questioned.

This results in discussions which very quickly become personally focussed and people lash out in often rude and unpleasant ways.  The focus isn’t the idea, the focus becomes the people.  I am guilty of reflecting others’ rudeness, particularly when someone supports an argument by suggesting they you need to be actually teaching in a classroom of Primary children to have any qualification to comment on it.

2) People are less concerned with the integrity of ideas and concepts and more inclined to echo misconceptions and poor thinking without checking the pedigree of the idea in the first place.

So What to do?

I need a group of peers who are more interested in the beauty of our field, the body of knowledge that exists, who want to share & develop ideas, attribute credit, not boast about stealing or pass others ideas off as their own.  So I’m proposing an evolution and a new totem:  #ImpactEduk or Impact in Education. (@impactEduk) It’s not a perfect title but it will do.

I have watched the development of several of the forums and movements and debated the idea of a notional leadership.  The feeling of some others was that the democracy of the crowd would enable the best to evolve.  I dispute that to some degree.  I want to create an open tribe, but with an ‘eldership’.

There should be some rules which should be simple and follow some elements of the model developed in other forums.  I propose the following:

We gather a list of ideas we are interested in debating.

We commit to exploring the evidence and research and gather together to discuss, critique and explore that idea.

We are objective, leave our opinions out of it and concentrate on what we know and can verify.

We archive and curate a legacy of evidence and research in each of the areas we explore.

We use the twitter account to follow those people ask to be part of the tribe, to try to give it some identity and

We discuss developing some kind of ‘eldership’ a group of those who feel committed to stopping the thing going feral, or have significant expertise to share.

We work hard to become an echo chamber of valid ideas, demonstrating impact, not half truths and opinions.  We challenge and correct anyone who does so using the #impacteduk hashtag.

We attribute ideas to their source and seek the root of all ideas as part of our discussions.

I do not want to own this, I want to start it and give it away.

I guess this is the practical outworking of the wonderful #purposeEd 

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7 thoughts on “Informed professional debate.

  1. Interesting, Pete. As Matt Pearson said, in a recent blog post, there is an issue with the medium of Twitter leading to nuances of a discussion being lost in translation. I also think the medium is changing with an air of intolerance on both sides of a debate. This means that your idea has some mileage but I question whether Twitter is actually the place for it. If you are going for a known membership with accepted norms of behaviour and the concept of eldership, are you not better looking at a space like google circles which allows different modes of communication.
    My fear is that this idea, which is excellent and enticing as it brings in the discussion of research etc, is almost trying to change Twitter and there is a danger of appearing of wanting to be aloof from the crowd. For example, how do you police it if someone doesn’t play by the rules?
    I do like the idea and feel a space like this is needed my concerns centre on how it would actually develop and work. I fear that I have been negative but my comments at borne out of excitement at the potential.

  2. Ah, the answer to the question on the previous post. I agree with Bill that twitter would not be the place to sustain the debate in the way that is intended. I also think that you would find it hard to restrict it to ‘elders’ as there will be lots of folks wanting to have a say. Setting up a forum that could then ‘report’ via twitter might be a compromise.

    • That wasn’t my understanding of the role of elders Pete suggests, and now you have got me questioning what I did think. Is it a suggestion that elders have conversations behind closed doors and then decree to the masses? I don’t think that type of eldership is helpful here.

      • I agree that the terminology may not be useful. However, Pete does mention ‘significant expertise’, no opinions and challenging and correcting. It depends what audience it is aimed at. It may well be a select few. I understand Jodie’s views about #ukedchat but having been a moderator would have to say that I was not an elder in that role. Just keeping things moving.

  3. I think that it is very similar to the current #ukedchat – a shared hashtag but with people who run the debate each week – are these not the “elders” of ukedchat?
    This is just a new focus as I see it – interest in debate – some people do not like debate, they get upset by it/feel that if someone disagrees it is personal rather than academic. I think having a seperate hashtag for that is perfectly fine and not a change of Twitter – Twitter invented the hastag for this purpose, so people can have seperate communities and keep conversations seperately. Just as in #ukedchat there are people who try to keep people on track there will be same with #impacteduk – there will always be some people using it wrongly as the community grows and changes hands but the initial point can still carry as it does with #ukedchat.
    I just see it as a new way to channel my ever-growing Twitter feed. I love a good debate and at least with an accompanying hashtag people can see we intend to have debates rather than just all agree etc

    • Having thought this through and taken part in a discussion on Twitter.’I am leaving my thoughts here and I think that this is going to be how the idea could come to fruition. 140 characters would not be enough for me to share my thoughts on how it moves forward so I have moved onto the blog. In the same way when I was in a discussion with two or three others this morning it could have been useful to move onto skype or a google hangout. I think that the strength of this idea is to stimulate discussions, innovations etc on Twitter which could then take place in further detail in the most relevant forum – this could be staying on Twitter or moving elsewhere if it were clogging up everyone else’s timelines. The idea of ‘get a room’ appeals to me especially as a discussion on a wiki or another space could be returned to at another time. (One of my frustrations of Twitter is how transient some discussions can be)
      I hope that this takes off and I can rediscover some of the sense of innovation and partnership from Twitter that has invigorated my career over recent years.

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