Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Asynchronous conversations


Phil Windley podcasts ITconversations on Technometria. On February 25, he and four others got together to talk about Twitter.
It is there suggested that the conversations on twitter are asynchronous. Most conversations online are asynchronous.
This concept is not foreign to most k12 learners. They see immediately how they can leave an IM for me that I will answer later. They comment on blogs written days ago.
Adults don't seem to grasp this asynchronous nature of online conversations as well. I once commented to someone that I would search for an answer for them while they drove home and post the answer which they would receive when they opened the IM client at home. How this worked was beyond them. Younger learners don't seem to have this difficulty.
It is compelling that our conversations can be significant and asynchronous at the same time. In fact, allowing time for reflection deepens our conversations. I often ask learners to comment on conversations that resonate with them. In face to face conversations, people tend to talk over one another, interrupt one another, and change topics suddenly. In online conversations, none of these distractions need occur.
So I ask you what about the quality of your conversations?
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2 comments:

Miguel said...

Ms. Durff, could it be that most adult conversations are frivolous one-way communications? The reason adults don't get it is that they'd rather pontificate rather than reflect and reciprocate.

That's why this doesn't catch on so quickly...the answer for mental weariness isn't less reflection, less thought, more mindlessness, but more reflection, more engagement, more conversation.

Thanks,
Miguel

P.S. I sent a whole bunch of Texas folks over to see your voki. Did you get some hits?

Stephanie Mocilan said...

Dear Ms. Durff,
I am an Illinois State University Student who is studying to be a Biology teacher 6-12th grade. One of our requirements is to write about how technology can be of assistance to future teachers. We have been required to read and write blogs, but also, we have had to participate in online discussions with classmates. Earlier this afternoon, I sat in the computer lab thinking of benefits of asynchronous communication. I am glad to have bumped into your blog as I have been thinking about like matters. I also participate in a (in-person) discussion group. We meet on Thursdays. As I sat there last week, I wanted to participate, but had to compete to get a word in edgewise. I resorted to raising my hand and waving it in the air. I finally got to speak my piece, but the topic had quickly changed and it almost seemed like a moot point. While I prefer face-to-face conversation, sometimes pride and wordiness set in and ruin the conversation. I believe that conversation and patience are skills we need to learn, but I think that asynchronous communication really lends itself to deep thought and reflection. I think that each play an important part in growth. Thanks for your blog.

Stephanie Mocilan