I've been one of the moderators for #lrnchat on Twitter for almost 2 years. Saying that amazes and humbles me...I've met more brilliant people and had the opportunity to learn from so many new friends through the serendipity of social media and my life is forever changed for the better because of the #lrnchat community.
On the other hand, I've been participating in #lrnchat for almost 2 years. And its really been the only Twitter chat I've participated in, besides an occasional #edchat or #hcmchat.
In retrospect, this seems absolutely silly. I've talked about in the past how I learn the most from the non-learning focused conferences I attend: gaming conferences, technology conferences, industry conferences...those are the conferences that typically get my mind whirring and my creativity flowing. So why have I not participated in any of the hundreds of chats you can now find on a regular basis on Twitter?
I don't have a good answer.
But luckily, some of my #lrnchat friends pointed out the obvious. We need to learn in places outside of our own backyard. We need to get out into the world and explore. We need to flashmob other chats!
If you don't know what a flashmob is, check out an example of one that I experienced myself by the Opera Company of Philadelphia here. The basic concept is that as people go on about their normal activities, a group of people come in and perform an organized event...and then everyone goes on about their normal activities. Flashmobs aren't intended to be disruptive...they are intended to entertain and enrich and often, to teach something, to expand people's viewpoints.
Tonight was our first chat flashmob. Our target? #4sqchat which takes place Mondays from 9 - 10 pm est. We didn't really know who all would show up...honestly, I didn't plan on participating. But 9 pm rolled around and I was online and I started to see my #lrnchat friends tweeting with the #4sqchat hashtag and I just couldn't stay away.
I will admit, I'm not an avid user of Foursquare and I have been skeptical about leveraging geolocation services for learning. Tonight, as part of the chat, I learned some things and got some ideas that expanded my viewpoint:
- Foursquare has the ability to post photos to a location. Very cool! Some practical applications of that may be:
- Running a game where people check in and take a picture of themselves or their team completing a task to score "points"
- Documenting a trip by assigning a photo to each check in. There's even a service that allows you to create a memory book based on your check in photos: Memolane
- Businesses could market their products and services by adding photos to their business location in Foursquare.
- You don't have to check in to post a photo to a location. This could address some people's privacy concerns.
- Foursquare check ins could be set up for different locations within a conference, facilitating the creation of games at conferences and events. Think about checking into sessions, checking in at vendor booths in an expo hall, etc.
- Check ins could be set up in locations at your company to support the creation of a new hire orientation activity.