In this, the last of my look at the twitter production of A Christmas Carol that I staged with my Grade 8 English students, I would like to have a brief look at the reflections of the students. What they made of the experience. I had asked students to write up a short reflection and save it on the network drive. Most students appeared to enjoy the task:
We really enjoyed this task and found it surprising that we remembered most of the characters. We found that it as easy to tweet as our character because we remembered who he was and that made it easier for us. We found that this task was enriching and that we got a real feel of the characters from A Christmas Carol.
There was in fact only one negative reaction:
“I personally didn’t enjoy the activity. It was kind of boring and I didn’t see it necessary. The concept was good but I don’t tweet a lot for myself never mind for someone else”
One group commented that “We enjoyed placing her (Mrs Cratchit) as a 21st century character.” Reactions I had had from teachers beforehand mainly revolved around what connection there could possibly be between twitter and Dickens, so I was encouraged to see that this didn’t seem to trouble the girls much.
We have learned a lot about the Christmas Carol characters, even the minor ones, and we’ve had a chance to use modern technology and Twitter to do so. We were creative with applying an old story to modern hashtags and tweets that were funny and easy to do.
Most groups felt that they had been creative, and reading the archive certainly reveals some choice moments!
We liked it because it was a different type of fun – none of us have done it before! Some tweets were hilarious but others quite weird!
One reaction pointed out that the translation into the present time made it more difficult.
We knew a lot about the staves which made it a lot easier to write about, although turning into something they’d say if they lived in the 20th century (sic), is a lot harder. We liked the fact that we could express what we thought of the characters in our own way, as well as expressing them in a unique way.
Some were a bit disturbed by some of the more direct comments made by some characters, which was felt to be rude and “out of hand”. Some girls drew my attention to some rather robust comments during the production, and I appealed to everyone to remember that their comments were public, and not to get nasty. The comments in question were made by Bob Cratchit and represented some unflattering views of his employer – fair enough, I felt, but it did offend some girls.
I liked the fact that nobody knew anybody’s identity and seeing people’s creative thoughts (#cripplecool, #yayhumbug). We wouldn’t mind doing it again. It was a good experience pretending to be the characters in the actual book. There could’ve been more accounts (e.g. Ignorance & want)
Some experiences were marred by technical problems and by some groups feeling that since they were minor characters in the book they couldn’t participate fully. I thought I had dispelled this notion in my introduction and notes, but clearly I hadn’t.
I think in the end we ran out of ideas to tweet about if we didn’t have main characters or characters with big parts like ours (@OldJoe8).
One of the virtues of a twitter production is that it should allow even the most minor character to take centre stage! Any character can tweet at any time.
I have placed an archive of the tweets in the Dropbox of this blog so that readers can judge for themselves. I had asked students to reflect on whether what they’d created was Art or not. Most groups felt it was definitely not Art.
I think I disagree.