“Nearly every Twitter education chat I have experienced has left me with a wealth of resources: classroom ideas, video clips, blog posts, learning posters, professional reading suggestions, information about emerging technology, advancing thoughts on how to effectively use technology in the classroom, and growing connections to educators around the world. The chats are powerful bursts of encouragement, and I leave inspired.”
– Steve Wyborney, edu@scholastic blog
Need I say more? Twitter chats, which center around a consistent topical hashtag, are a fantastic way to glean new knowledge or tactics that enhance your professional development. The education community is on fire when it comes to these personal learning networks (PLNs).
This list of Twitter Education Chats, shared by the great Todd Whitaker, gives you an idea of how expansive the community is and even organizes them into a weekly calendar. You can join educator chats based on the subject area or grade level you teach.
Our great state of Texas is so big that if you miss the #TXEDUCHAT on Sunday nights, you can always contribute to the stream of dialogue with #TXEDCHAT throughout the week. The wonderful assistant principals in CFISD have even started their own chat for APs, #CFISDAPchat, on Thursday nights, and I’m told there may be one upcoming for principals.
If you’ve never participated, the general structure of a chat is as follows:
1) Open Twitter or Tweetdeck and search the hashtag of your chat, sorting by most recent posts first.
2) At the start time of the chat, introduce yourself (sharing name, title, campus or department), being sure to include the hashtag in each of your posts so others can see them.
3) The chat “moderator” will have a set of discussion questions prepared around a single topic. He/she will space them out by about 5 minutes or so, using “Q1,” “Q2,” in the text for organization.
4) Answer each question in the same fashion, with “A1,” “A2,” etc.
5) Like or reply to answers that you found particularly useful.
And while it’s certainly not a prerequisite, I agree wholeheartedly with George here:
If you’re the type who prefers to dip a toe into the water before diving in, simply follow along on a chat topic without answering, gathering ideas as you go. Join one this week, and I’m willing to bet you pick up at least one thing that you can use in the classroom next week.
Have any more tips you think would be helpful? Hit me up!