Last week, the 140 Characters Conference (#140Conf) brought together hundreds of professionals interested in real-time Internet and its effect on both business and personal issues. Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Assistant Professor of Practice Anthony Rotolo was among the prestigious group of individuals who presented at this two-day conference.
Rotolo’s presentation, “College in Real Time,” focused on the use of social media in higher education, particularly how he uses real-time technology to teach his own courses. In Social Media in the Enterprise, more commonly known as #RotoloClass, using social media is not only optional, it’s required.
“In my class, real-time Twitter takes place during every lecture and conversation happens around that hashtag,” Rotolo said. “What has happened as part of this class is that we’ve gained an audience much larger than the classroom can hold. We’ve got people following along that are interested in learning about social media, and we’ve got thought leaders who are actually engaging with students via Twitter. Class doesn’t happen in a bubble anymore. Student engagement is through the roof, just by adding in one real-time tool.”
Rotolo also teaches Star Trek and the Information Age, or #TrekClass. Twitter allows students to discuss important issues while they watch episodes of Star Trek.
“On one giant screen in the auditorium we have Star Trek, and on the other giant screen we have a Twitter chat,” Rotolo explained. “On Twitter, we are actively discussing in real-time what’s going on, not only amongst ourselves, but with a growing legion of Trekkies.”
Rotolo’s presentation was well-received by the audience, and fit right in with the messages of other speakers, including 15-year-old Michael Matias and Dan Lewis, director of new media communications for Sesame Street. Matias discussed what it’s like to grow up in real-time, noting the importance of video chat and Google documents. Lewis’ presentation, “Tweeting for Toddlers: Why Sesame Street Tweets”, pointed out that even though young children can’t tweet, parents are more engaged in their child’s education because of Twitter.
#140Conf featured more than 120 speakers, who spoke for 10 to 15 minutes each. The goal of the fast-paced conference was to provide a platform for as many people as possible to share their thoughts and experiences. Notable speakers included: co-host of NBC’s Today Show Ann Curry, Foursquare founder and Syracuse University alum Dennis Crowley, ’98, author Deepak Chopra, Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker and Mashable’s Editor-in-chief Adam Ostrow.
Rotolo holds a B.S. in Information Management and Technology and a M.S. in Information Management, both from the Syracuse University iSchool. In May 2009, he received the iSchool Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award, and also received the Web-based Information Science Education Consortium’s 2009 Excellence in Online Education Award. Rotolo is the co-founder of Enormo.us, a creative agency specializing in social media, animation and interactive content.