Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Participating in Twitter Educational Chats

'twitter logo map 09' photo (c) 2009, The Next Web The Next Web - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/So far, I have been able to (mostly) participate in two twitter educational chats.  I participated in one #edchat (and watched a second while in class, but didn't really retain anything from it) and participated in a #ntchat (new teacher chat).  Before I talk about what I learned from these chats, I just wanted to make a note.  Participating in these chats are hard for me, because they are the ones I am interested in, but they take place while I am either in class or working.  Therefore I can either not participate in them at all, or participate in them half-heartedly.  I am really interested in #edreform, but as far as I can tell they don't have a chat (at least looking through cybraryman's list and through the twitter posts under their hashtag).  

With that said, I definitely see the value in these educational chats.  I still remember the first #edchat I participated in, it was so overwhelming!  There are so many posts so quickly that it's difficult to read them all, and forget trying to click on the links and read articles or explore tools!  The positive aspect of this, though, is that there are SO many educators that are participating and sharing resources with everyone.  I must say, it is things like this that really enlightened me to the positive aspects of twitter.  Before this class, I refused to get a twitter account because I could not really see the value in it.  All I knew is that celebrities used it and people could follow them and that really did not appeal to me in the slightest.  Now that I see how you can connect with educators all over the world and what valuable resources and insights are shared, I think it is a must for all teachers to participate in.

The first #edchat that I participated in was about incorporating technology into the classroom, as was the topic of the #ntchat I participated in as well.  From the #edchat I took a few notes of things people said that stood out to me and here they are (sorry, they are not complete sentences, but snippets of things that resonated with me)
-Critically thinking
-Connect globally
-No end to learning
-Handle the barrage of info
-"new age"
-digital literacy!
-skills beyond walls of classroom
-Tech to enhance lessons
-Most social media is blocked in schools
-Tech changes every day
-Prepare children for future
-Learner-centered vs. test-centered
-Teach problem-solving
-Computers replacing teachers?
-"If a child can't learn the way we teach, we should teach the way they learn"

I think that even though these are incomplete sentences and are not articulated in a summary form, that they are powerful and really say a lot.  A question for my readers (assuming I have any) is, "What stands out for you in these snippets about incorporating technology into the classroom?"

From the #ntchat that I participated in (I actually participated in two, but don't have notes on one of them, sorry!) The moderator broke up the topic into subtopics and introduced them throughout the chat to direct the conversation.  Some of the subtopics included what kinds of tech tools do you use, what are the positive and negative effects of using tech in the classroom, and how do we branch out and use these tools when other teachers around us aren't receptive?  I like #ntchat a little bit better than #edchat because there aren't as many people participating (not as widespread) and so it is a lot easier to follow and participate in, and I have found that you get more feedback.  I posted a couple of tweets and I got mentions back, and I didn't find that as much with the #edchat because I think the posts just go by too quickly and they don't get read as much.  
Here are a couple of my tweets and their replies:
When prompted with the subtopic of how to motivate other teachers to use tech in the classroom (and how you "branch out" when others around you are not) I said:
Use it & show ur success in the classroom, its excellent proof it's a great way for students 2 learn & b successful
I was replied with:
@scrawford518 This is so true. Cant let others lack of enthusiasm put a cloud over ours :) #ntchat by teachingwthsoul
When prompted with the positive vs. negative effects subtopic I said:
I thk at a basic level tech is a great motivator 4 students, esp. reluctant writers (using blogs, creative writing programs, etc.)  
I was replied with:
@scrawford518 Yes, you make a great point there. Tech gives us the ability to differentiate. Key for kids w/ exec function issues #ntchat by flourishingkids
Overall, I feel that these chats are very helpful as an educator and are rich with resources that are very beneficial to teaching.  I wish that I was a teacher now so that I could implement them, however, because I feel that would make them even more beneficial.  I feel like I would also be able to contribute more meaningfully in these chats if I were in the classroom using these tools as well.  I also wish that I had the time to devote the entire hour to participating in these chats because I feel like I cannot comprehensively summarize them because my participation is sporadic. 


  1. I like what you've learned in your chats. Seems like very useful things to talk about. I know we talked about it yesterday during break but I agree with you about finding the time to chat. You seem to be doing a better job than me so good work!

  2. Sherilyn,
    Although you aren't teaching in a classroom I think these chats are more beneficial to you right now. It gives you the ability to see what is out there in the world, and allows you to start off way stronger than most new teachers. I think that your point of view from a new teacher without a class gives a broader more global view of these topics instead of some teachers that rarely think outside of their classroom walls. Plus as we grow with these chats, I think us new teachers will make our mark on education immediately.

  3. I agree with Melissa in that by you now becoming familiar with twitter and having all these established resources, will be much more beneficial to you when you are working as a teacher. You will just have this amazing treasure trove to dig into. It's crazy how this class has totally made me change my mind about twitter.