20 May, 2011 TeachMeet Midlands
This isn’t my first TeachMeet, as I was lucky enough to attend a TM Midlands in February. I’m not a teacher, but will start a PGCE for Upper Primary at University of Leicester in September and am working elearning at the university until then.
I signed up to give a presentation about using FriendFeed with undergraduates, which Dr Alan Cann and I have been doing for the last two years. This is Alan’s project on which I am the glamorous assistant 😉 We share the work of posting messages and commenting on student posts between us, with assistance from other colleagues that teach first year students.
FriendFeed has successfully given our undergraduates a space to begin to develop a professional identity online, interacting with their peers, sharing and challenging their subject knowledge. This is a place outside of Facebook, Twitter or MSN chat spaces. It didn’t have to be FriendFeed, but it has lots of nice features (now incorporated into Facebook since they bought FriendFeed in 2009) that are useful for low-barrier interactions:
- object centred discussion (e.g. post a YouTube video/ shared google reader item and discuss it)
- threaded comments
- ‘likes’ for easy ego stroking and encouragement
- new content refreshes to top of page to reward return visits
- Friend Of A Friend (FOAF) visibility, so once all students were subscribed to Alan and I, we could comment on any student post and all students would see our comment and the original post
- easy aggregation from other services (twitter/ google reader/ RSS)
For a guide to using FriendFeed see Robert Scoble’s video 20 things about FriendFeed from 2008 who was a famous proponent of the service, but, as usual with this very early adopter, has moved onto other communities.