Friday, October 17, 2008

Comparing Microblogging Tools

Recently students in my online class Using the Internet in L2 Classrooms at the State University of New York at Buffalo completed a mod comparing several microblogging sites.  Each group of 3 students was assigned to compare Twitter, the best known site, with either Plurk, Pownce or Spoink.

 Those who compared Twitter to Plurk, the two most similar sites, differed on their feel about each layout.  Some thought Twitter was more appealing because of its simplicity, but others liked the timeline design of Plurk.  Regarding other features students said:

§         Each allows 140 characters of text which you can post online or by cell phone.

On both you can post links, but Plurk also lets you share images and Youtube videos.

§         The act of replying on each site differs but you can send public or private messages on each site.

Although many of my students are second language teachers, I don't think that many of them noticed that you can "plurk" in other languages.  That would make Plurk a useful useful teaching tool.  I think the reason this feature wasn't noticed is that you have to scroll down to see that option.

 Those who compared Twitter and Pownce usually preferred the many features of Pownce such as:

  • The ability to share videos, mp3 files and events.  One student posted about an event she was going to attend and replies asked how it went.  Another student posted this YouTube video which compares Twitter, Pownce and Jiku.

 Those who used Spoink liked being able to:

  • Podcast from their phones
  • Type 500 characters
  • Post text, video or pictures.

 This was the first time I had students explore microblogging.  None of them had even heard of it before.  We all learned a lot.  However, I definitely will revise the mod to be sure that the students:

§         Try all the features of each site

§         Add the other members of their group and reply to each of their posts

§         Post on various days so that they don't just post 5 consecutive posts!

§         Check out Edmodo which many of them referred to when they searched for articles about microblogging.


BlogDog said...

I have been using Edmoto this year in my classroom. I LOVE IT!!! I like the teacher / student organization and ease of sharing files, dates and so on.

Maryanne said...

Thanks for the input on Edmodo. I will definitley include it in the mod this semester.

Angela said...

Hi Maryanne--
How wonderful to see you blogging here and sharing such wonderful things! I got your link via V. Davis, who recommended you in a blog post (I follow her on Twitter). Imagine my surprise when I clicked through and saw you here--I taught at Amherst with you ages ago it seems.

I've just added you to my reader--what a great resource this is. Best wishes! Good to see you!

Carmen Holotescu said...


I enjoy reading your notes, a lot of good tips.

I also use microblogging platforms with peers, students, trainees, for knowledge management, for courses enhancement, or for delivering entire online courses.

If you have a little time, please take a look at my papers about microblogging in education: 1, 2.

Also I kindly invite you to take a look at cirip, a microblogging platform specially designed for education.

Facilities: * create private/public groups, * embed in notes: images, audio and (live) video files, presentations, pdf, doc, xls files; * feeds monitoring; * statistics and visual representations: timeline, network, tagcloud for users and groups, etc.

A Happy New Year,

Maryanne said...

How nice to hear from you! If you blog, I'd love to have your URL to see what you've been up to.

Angela said...

Hi again--
I blog at Please drop in and say hello : )