Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Keep the Education Conversation Going on Twitter with #EdChat Even After the Hype

Education Nation, Waiting for Superman, Mark Zuckerberg Announces on Oprah He’ll Donate $100 Million to Newark Public Schools...

It seems like suddenly everyone’s talking about education and that’s great, but once hoopla dies down, how do we keep the conversation going? Answer: Twitter provides an excellent platform. When I speak to educators about why it’s important for educators to use Twitter, I start by explaining it’s really all about the conversation and connections. In fact, I had this conversation today with some high profile educators who I was trying to convince to get more involved in social media. They share the sentiment that, “If I want to converse, I’ll talk to my colleagues.” The problem with this is that 1) They may not be interested in or feel like talking about the same thing you do, when you do and 2) A conversation with the same few people might not provide the richest experience.

Twitter solves the issue by providing global connections with those passionate about the same topics you are and if education is your passion, then #edchat is a conversation you should join. “Ed Chat,” or as we call it in the Twitosphere, #edchat is a terrific way for educators to join the education conversation on an ongoing basis. It enables educators all over the world to participate in online discussions that take the form of a fast-paced chat room on Twitter about important educational topics such as, “How can we teach our students about their digital footprint and maintain a positive one ourselves?” The discussion centers around the selected topic, with people posing questions, responding to each other and retweeting statements, questions or ideas that they like. Participants tag their tweets with #edchat so that anyone can follow the conversation. (Thanks to @MBTeach for this description on her blog.)

The #edchat wiki describes it this way.

Open, collaborative, focused discussion can open and expand minds. But let's not stop there- let's harness this wisdom of the many to crowdsource possible solutions to some of the major issues that are uncovered...

Here is a video overview of #Edchat

Here is how you can participate.
  • When does #edchat take place? There are two edchat discussions which take place at 12pm and 7pm NYT (EST).
  • How are Topics Chosen? Every Monday, Tom Whitby, Steven Anderson, and ShellTerrell create a twtpoll of 5 topics to choose from for Tuesday’s discussion. You can vote in the poll by visiting http://twtpoll.com and searching #edchat. You may also propose topics by sending us a Tweet or DM to Tom, Steve, or Shelly!
  • What is a hashtag? Check out this video to discover what a hashtag is and how to use a hashtag. Every Tuesday, at the designated time, you only need to add “#edchat” to the end of your tweet to participate in the discussion.
So what is so special about #edchat?
Participant & moderator Mary Beth Hertz provides this insightful overview explaining why educators find #edchat so useful sharing this.

I find the fast pace discussion exciting. The varied opinions and points of view are enlightening, and the discussion is always deep and meaningful. Some might think of it as organized chaos, but it is just like sitting in a room of brilliant educators and never having to move around the room to hear everyone's conversations. What's even better, you can jump in at any time when you see a topic, statement or idea that grabs you or that you feel strongly about without feeling like you're interrupting a conversation.

The #edchat discussions are also a great place to find like-minded educators to add to your PLN (Personal or Professional Learning Network). Often, after a session, you will find your email inbox full of people from the chat who found you on Twitter, and you can search them out as well to follow.

Get Going with #EdChat today
You can get started today, or any Tuesday by logging onto Twitter at noon or 7 p.m. EST and using your preferred tool like Twitter Search, Twitterfall, TweetDeck or HootSuite, Twhirl or TweetGrid to follow and engage in the conversation and visit Twtpoll to check out the conversation topic.

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  1. Hopefully some of your readership which is not on Twitter will see the point of it now and join us.

  2. @David, I hope so too. Baby steps :-) I will be sharing the site during my keynote at the Tri-State Ed Tech conference this weekend. Getting the word out about this great resource. Perhaps they'll add a second day for the focused talks to occur too.

  3. It would be nice to develop a network of non-educator activists. I get a lot out of #edchat, but not being in the system, it's not quite the perfect fit. If parents know that something is wrong with the system but don't know exactly what it is, do we have a hashtag for that?

  4. This is what helps me keep my conversations going http://howtofixstuff.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-keep-conversation-going.html