Tuesday, 7 May 2013

#EdChat: Idle Twitter Chatter... Or Great CPD Forum?

At this weeks #ukfechat a proposal was put forward that we should arrange to meet up to discuss all things FE, which is a great example of how online chat leads to real time collaboration.

In addition to this, the
 newly formed #edtechchat was discussing how to help students become responsible digital citizens, a topic which seems to be more important than ever.

Therefore, for the benefit of those in education who are not on Twitter, I thought I would highlight;

1) My experiences with this 140 character platform over the last 2 years
2) How Social Media can be a great forum for professional development.

A Misperception... A Waste of Time!

Today I am a big fan of Twitter, but this was not always the case. 

Prior to 2010, without ever using the site, I had a preconceived opinion about all the Twitter Chatter. The comment below summs up how I viewed this Social Media platform; "What a waste of time! Why would anyone care what someone else had for breakfast?" 

This view was changed with the input from 2 sources;

1) Employers and recruitment headhunters started asking "why are you not on any social media channels"  

2) The youngest member of staff at the company that I worked at explained how useful Twitter could be.

This was enough for me to explore  new media, but before opening any accounts I got a couple of books on Social Media, one of which was “Social Nation” by Barry Libert, which proved to be a fantastic guide. 

I sent a tweet to Barry letting him know how much I enjoyed the book which led to us collaborating on a Twitter in Education report. 

Over the last 2-3 years there has been a lot of collaboration and opportunities that would not have existed had it not been for Twitter.

When #ukfechat was established I wondered how many other chat sessions took place on a regular basis and found that there were well over a hundred.

Jerry Blumengarten aka @cybraryman1 is the curator of all kinds of great education resources, including the various chat sessions that take place each week. Jerry's page on Twitter Education chats can be found here - #EdChats.

The times on Jerry's page is based on US time and I have included the BST/GMT times as well as the hashtag, chat theme & moderators. For anyone who is not Twitter, but would like to check out the discussion for any of the chats/topics, I have also included the chat website - please find this list on the following link - #EdChats GMT.

Given all the unpaid overtime that educators work... once educators finish marking all the homework, exam papers and assignments and made up the lesson plans, what on earth might possess them to then take to the web to talk shop? 

To get the answer to this why don't you find out by logging onto Twitter or check the archived chats...

Time Difference...
#EdChatie, #asechat, #addcym, #PhDChat, #NIEdChat, #socchat, #ukedchat, #ukfechat, #sltchat & #gtie Are all UK/Ire chat sessions and are worth checking out. 

There are also a lot of great discussions that take place  in the "wee small hours" due to the time difference in the US which can be a challenge, as Hip Hop Teacher highlights in this post - UK #HipHopEd

As 2am was not a conducive time to take part in the discussion, a UK Affiliation was established where the same topic was discussed and ideas shared. #kinderchat does the same thing and have a "UK Friendly time option" which is 8.30pm on Mondays (Ideal for FE Students who are on Child Care courses?)

Perhaps the same could be done with other chats? 
If this idea appeals to anyone why not get in touch with the moderator and check out this advice on moderating a chat session - How to take part in or moderate a Twitter Chat 

Digital Citizenship is a serious issue for our young people, what better way to teach this particular lesson than by example?

I hope this post has helped to highlight some of the benefits for Twitter in Education and look forward to seeing you on a forthcoming #EdChat.

Useful Links

What is #EdChat
#EdChat Revisited
Utilizing Twitter Chats for Professional Development 
Twitter #EdChat Moderators

1 comment:

  1. Twitter connects passionate educators by having chats for most subject areas and grade levels. The key to Twitter is to follow the hashtag (#) stream of your interests.
    My Educational Hashtags page: http://www.cybraryman.com/edhashtags.html