What does an educational microblogging service need?

etherpadLast time in my Seminar about blogging in education we talked about the question if one would like to use microblogging in education, what would be needed to be a good educational microblogging service.
To discuss that and share some general information we used an etherpad document. And I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that instead of just thinking about the task everyone started creating content in this document. I shared the Information that we are working on this right now on twitter an so other seminar participants who can’t joint today and other twitter users joined as well. Thanks for that!

In my opinion the collected features might exclude each other sometimes, but it is a first collection and might be improved during the next weeks.

PS: During working with etherpad we discovered that there is a limitation to 8 users working on the document at the same time.

Intermediate Results at the end of the seminar:
(After approx. 40 minutes)

Existing Microblogging Services
http://twitter.com
http://laconi.ca / http://identi.ca
http://edmodo.com
http://www.cirip.ro/
http://bleeper.de/
– WordPress P2-Theme: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/p2

What does an educational Microblogging Service need?
Only prerequisite: 140 Characters per message

Features
– reminder for tasks, calendar
– grading feature
– messaging; possibly with personal messages exceeding 140 characters, or at least with the chance to add files
– viewing/sharing different files
– tagging — maybe offer popular tags like some blogs do
– groups
– contacts following/followers
– post only to groups (only groupmembers can read that)
– connection to facebook, blogs, etc.
– reach a big mass of people in short time
– searching feature
– archive
– Visualization, such as tag clouds or wonder wheels to visualize the knowledge space
– updates sent to your mobile phone

Interface
– easy to use and reliable What makes it easy to use? What makes it reliable?
– Web Interface
-clearly arranged

Else
– custom design so everyone can have their own preferred way of reading things
– many different clients (Twitter), customizable
– you can be the whole time without breaks in connection.
– you are easy to contact
– would make sense to integrate with a wiki or a social network-like platform. Wiki would be great, e.g. having mutual links from tweets to tagged wikipages and automated listings of tweets on that page, or so.
– you can write something what is maby not easy to say in reality
– live collaboration/like twitter wall for feedback on presentations
-free of charge

Limitations
– you need the correct follwers and need to follow the right poeple
–> only makes sense if used by enough people
– only easy to use if you know what you are dealing with
–> Interface is reduced but not easy!
– privacy problems?
– works only when all students take part. But they don’t like to be forced. (e.g. http://books.google.com/books?id=E3z5bfkO4ywC&printsec=frontcover&hl=de#PPR14,M1)

The Etherpad Document is also linked from the wiki Strukturale Medienbildung.

The article is nearly crossposted at the seminarblog.

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