USING MICROBLOGGING IN EDUCATION
Using microblogging in education.Case Study: Cirip.ro
Technical University, Department of Computer Science, Timisoara, Romania
University of the West Timisoara, Department of Social Informatics, Romania
—Microblogging is the Web2.0 technology with themost important impact in 2008, with applications in manydomains, includingeducation. On a microblogging platform,the users can send and receive messages via the web, SMS,instant messaging clients, and by third party applications;the most known platform isTwitter. With a solid experiencein using Web2.0 technologies in education, the authors aretrying to provide arguments for using microbloggingplatforms in education, underlining the advantages, but alsopossible bad points. The article presents a microbloggingplatform specially designed for education, called Cirip.ro,which offers facilities such as live video / audio messages,multimedia objects embedding, private and public groups,feeds monitoring. Some concrete examples are presented, inwhich the platform is used for courses enhancement, forcommunities of practice, but also for delivering entire onlinecourses. How to facilitate such projects, how to integrateother Web2.0 technologies, how to evaluate studentsportfolios and participation are underlined too.
—Web2.0, collaborative technologies,microblogging, education, social learning
Microblogging is a Web2.0 technology anda new formof blogging, that let the users publish online brief textupdates, usually less then 140-200 characters, sometimesimages too. The posts can be edited and accessed online,or sent as SMS, e-mail or via instant messaging clients.Usually the microblogsauthors embed theirposts as awidget on blogs or sites.Microblogging enables a real-time interaction betweenusers, using different devices, technologies andapplications . The best known microblogging servicesare Twitter, Tumblr, Pownce, and Jaiku and, recentlyEdmodo. There are also local microblogging systems,very appreciated among Romanian Internet users, likeCirip.ro, Zazazoo.ro and Logoree.ro.EventhoughTwitter seems to be the most popular microblogging system, recently teachers and students tendto use a special platform designedfor education calledEdmodo.com to send “notes, links, files, alerts,assignments, and events to each other”. Other educationaluses of microblogging can be found in Ref  and .The paper will describe the facilities of themicroblogging platform Cirip.ro, and how it can be usedin education.II.M
ICROBLOGGING WITH CIRIP
Cirip.ro is a microblogging platform specially designedfor education and business, launched this year in March,implemented by Timsoft, a company specialized ine-learning and mobile applications, under the first author'scoordination. The platform has many educational uses, for information and knowledge management, for coursesenhancement, for delivering entire online courses, for collaborative projects in universities, for communities of practice, or foreportfolios.Besides the facilities that Twitter offers, Cirip.rocomeswith the following:
Users have the possibility to specify the domainaboutwhichthey will write the notes; this makesfinding microblogs from a specific domain easier, particularly the educational ones;
Creating user groups; pupils, students, teachers cancreate public or private groups(in the private onesthe notes are visible only for members);
The possibility to embed images, audio and (live)video files, presentations, documentsin notes;
The possibility to subscribe to search feeds or tofeeds offered by sites / blogs / social networks – the same as users and groups, the feeds can bemonitored, online, by IM, or by SMS.The interface is in Romanian and in English, facilitatingan international collaboration.Many statistics and visual representations offered by platform are useful for quantitative and qualitativeevaluation.The platform has a few thousands users, an important percentage being pupils, students and teachers.DuringJune 4-18, 2008, the authors developed andmoderated an online course, in a private group. It is aworld premiere, the first online course developed and runentirely on a microblogging platform.In the next paragraphswe will present the first entireonline course run on Cirip.ro, which gave us theopportunity to gain valuable experience and to reachuseful conclusions for the current courses run for differentuniversities or for continuos education.The aim of this course was to find out if microbloggingcan be integratedin the lifelong learning / teaching /collaboration / business / blogging. The topics addressedwere: microblogging platforms, Twitter facilities, Cirip.rofacilities, uses in education, uses in business, uses in blogs promotion etc.