I am so very sorry for not having updated you more frequently the last 6 weeks. But my travels have kept me so busy. The trip from San Diego to the Space Coast for STS-135 was epic. My visits to NASA Stennis and Glenn were productive. My participation at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference and the NASA Helio Education and Public Outreach retreat was educational. And now I am at the NASA IT Summit in San Francisco "Making IT Stellar at NASA". Why am I here?
It is not just about IT. This is about exchanging ideas, sharing best practices, learning what's new and cutting edge around IT, social media and education.
This morning's keynote address by Lynn Tilton (CEO of Patriarch Partners LLC) was very inspirational. "Dream the dream, have one foot in reality and the other one in the future!"
Then there was a social media session "Becoming a Social Organization; Taking a Strategic Approach to Social Media by Anthony Bradley with Gartner. Lots of great information how social media works. It's not just about mass, it is about community and engagement, about outreach and sharing, about social feedback and listening.
While broadcasting some of the interesting facts, I was asked what my thoughts were on the following statement:
"I don't see how education can happen with 140 characters!"
My first initial thought was a statement Anthony Bradley made a couple hours earlier "If you don't think social media works, then you are doing it wrong!". But it really takes a few characters to capture somebody's interest or to inspire somebody to learn more by following a link, looking up information, picking up a book etc. It's not so much about actually educating right there, but building the foundation to build on.
So I decided to ask the Twitterverse what they think. Keep in mind, I do not have a huge following on Twitter. It's not about the mass. But the people who do follow me, they are engaged, they are interested and they want to learn, share and feel part of the team.
What happened after I asked my followers for their thoughts on that statement truly shows the power of one social media platform alone. In this case Twitter; 140 characters or less. It started a round of discussions, people sharing their thoughts, experiences, ideas and tips. By simply asking "What do you think about the statement that you cannot educate in 140 characters" an educational round of discussions started.
Below are some of the responses. Would you like to participate remotely? You can! The NASA IT Summit 2011 wants you to be part of it. To chat during the session, please go to the session on the IT Summit Remote Engagement Site: http://open.nasa.gov/itsummit/
Use hashtag #NASAIT on Twitter.
@craigfifer: My first reaction is "Sounds like that person is a great candidate for education."
@craigfifer: 2nd reaction is, regardless of your beliefs, consider the 10 Commandments. Each 1 is ~140 chars, & they educated a society.
@ocaptmycapt: Education is awareness, it's opening dialogue, it's accessibility - that's 140 characters; they were dead wrong.
@craftlass: Sometimes brevity is the key to understanding. Less chance to get mired in details, more to see the big picture #NASAIT
@craftlass: Also, education is best when conversational. In 140 no party gets to run on, conversation improves dramatically #NASAIT
@tigergirl528: GrrrOWL! www.mathplayground.com What can't we do in 140 characters? The pen is mightier than the sword!
@nasa_edge: Definitely not quality, but I believe you can receive some form of education. Engagement possibly.
@catherineq: Perhaps not in a "traditional" sense but *inspiration* happens and that is vital for successful education.
@marimikel: Brevity doesn't preclude information. Educating people in 140 characters is completely possible!
@mswz: " This morning during #NASAIT - thoughts? "I don't see how any education can happen in 140 characters" " Out of the loop.
@jaymay: Doesn't happen in 140 chars. Happens over course of many tweets, time. Twitter's not about one-time hit, but 'relationship'
@stubek: If a person says education cannot happen in 140 characters, they are narrow minded and against innovation PERIOD #FB #NASAIT
@stubek: Education in 140 characters is as simple as a quick fact or a headline with a URL and more details #NASAIT
@harbingeralpha: "I don't see how kids can talk to one another over text." "I don't see how video games are anything but play." "I don't see..."
@harbingeralpha: my 11 year old brother can see the value, perhaps the speaker needs a chat with him and many others.
@harbingeralpha: my less political answer = "Haters gonna hate."
@rocketman528: Quite a lot of education takes place in 140 characters! Almost every major science result/news article is tweeted:-D #NASAIT
@sluggernova: beyond 1st engmt/link, learning outcomes can be w/in social space. E.g. new ideas, crowdsourced knowledge. Mass collab. #NASAIT