Friday, September 26, 2014

Learning and Connecting through #twitterchats

When I first heard about Twitter chats, I have to say I was not intrigued. My mind immediately thought of chat rooms and random people just ranting and rambling. After going to a conference over the summer and connecting with other administrators and digital leaders, I was shown the powerful learning, connections and reflection that can truly happen through a Twitter chat. 

So what are the basics of a chat? 
A Twitter chat is centered around a specific interest and occurs each week at the same time with the same hashtag. Each chat has a moderator that poses questions and those participating respond and include the same hashtag. Some of my favorite chats are:

Sunday nights at 7:00 CST: #nbtchat  (No Box Thinking)
Monday nights at 8:00 CST: #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate)
Thursday nights at 8:00 CST: #atplc
Thursday nights at 9:00 CST: #moedchat (Missouri Ed)
Saturday mornings at 6:30 CST: #satchat (Saturday Chat)
Saturday mornings at 9:30 CST: #satchatwc (Saturday Chat-West Coast)
Saturday mornings at 8:00 CST: #nt2t (New Teachers to Twitter)
Monday-Friday at 4:30 am CST or 6:30 am CST: #bfc530 (Breakfast Club 5:30)

Questions are labeled Q1, Q2, etc. and you mark your answers to correspond with the questions, A1, A2, etc. Don't forget that hashtag! That't the way that all of the others in the chat can see your thoughts and resources that you are sharing.

Abbreviations to know:
Ts= teachers
BTW=by the way
DM=direct message
TY or Thx=thanks
TIL=today I learned

Organizing your chat:

It's possible to participate in a chat using Twitter, however it is very hard to keep up with all of the tweets. I recommend using a third-party organizer, such at Tweetchat or Tweetdeck. This allows you to just see what is happening in your specific chat. Very easy to set up and use!

Using Tweetdeck:
Using Tweetchat:

How do I get started with a chat?
Your particular comfort level and learning style will most likely guide how you go about participating in your first chat. I recommend finding a friend. I had a chat buddy. He helped me to learn the basics and actually walked me through my very first chat as it was happening. Having that support eased the unknown for me. You can also "lurk" or just watch chats as they happen until you feel comfortable jumping in and participating.

For the researchers out there, here are sites that have been especially helpful to me:

Jerry Blumengarten @cybraryman1 has a page for most any topic in education. He is my go to when I want to dive a little deeper.

Learning and Leading with Technology

Chat Schedules:

Twitter chats have been some of the most powerful professional learning that I have taken part in so far as an educator. The knowledge and resources shared and global education connections that have been made have been invaluable. So jump right in and #happychatting!

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