“What other Twitter chats should I attend?” This question comes up fairly frequently during our weekly Inside Online Learning chat sessions (#IOLchat) here at Online Colleges.
There are literally hundreds of Twitter chats out there, covering topics that range from cooking and travel to news and entertainment. Education chats are also popular, but which ones are most relevant to you and how do you find them?
Twitter Chat Basics
For those who are new to the live-chat format on Twitter, reviewing how-to materials can be helpful. Educators Sue Waters and Alice Keeler share their advice for joining a chat, and explain how it all works (i.e., hashtags, filtering). Laura Pasquini provides great information about how you can make the most of Twitter as a form of professional development. If you have a Twitter account, and grasp the basics of tweeting, retweeting (RT), replying and hashtags, you are ready to join a live discussion.
A Few Chats to Try
Where should you start? I’ve participated in some of the discussions listed below, monitored a few others and reviewed transcripts. While I haven’t gotten to all of these yet, I did confirm that they are currently active and included a resource link where possible. Each of these chats has an education-related theme overall and you’ll find more specific topics are usually scheduled for each session.
Note: all times listed below are Eastern Time Zone! TimeandDate.com offers a helpful conversion tool.
8:00 pm, #edtechchat – Join this weekly session devoted to educational technology. You can download PDF transcripts of past chats from the group’s wiki archives. Recent topics: Looking Over the EdTech Horizon, Launching Successful EdTech Initiatives, Digital Portfolios
12:00 pm & 7:00 pm, #edchat – This award-winning chat is in its sixth year of facilitating conversations about teaching trends, technology, policy and more. Browse the chat wiki for transcripts, the chat’s podcast and community links. You can even vote on the next topic. Recent topics: How do we talk about technology integration in education to get beyond digital worksheets?, Should digital literacy be a teaching requirement?, What makes an educator a thought leader in education?
8:00 pm, #profchat – Join this community of college professors and their conversations about teaching in higher education. Each session is led by a guest moderator. Recent topics: Teaching Unplugged, Rubrics-does one size fit all?
3:00 pm, #LTHEchat – This chat is focused on learning and teaching in higher education. It’s organized by a group of educators in the UK and draws a wide audience. Follow @LTHEchat for updates. Recent topics: Graduate Attributes, Measuring Learning Gains, Teaching Excellence Framework
8:00 pm, #currichat – If you are involved in curriculum design, this chat “for curriculum nerds” may be for you. The K-12 coordinators cover subjects of interest across education levels. Recent topics: Student-centered Learning Environments, Gaming in Education, Robotics.
11:00 am, #chat2lrn – Instructional designers, training specialists and learning professionals meet in this chat to share ideas and resources for learning across industries. The blog site provides access to transcripts and chat ground rules. Follow @chat2lrn for updates. Recent topics: Do we take Subject Matter Experts for granted?, Making Social Learning Happen, Internal vs. External Learning and Development
8:00 pm, #games4ed – Are you interested in game-based learning and gamification? This niche chat is designed to get you up to speed. Follow @games4ed for updates. Recent topics: Gamification and Professional Development, Using Non-Digital Games in the Classroom, Overview of Game-based Learning
8:30 pm, #lrnchat – This chat encourages discussion of “how other people learn in formal, informal, social and mobile ways.” You can review transcripts of previous sessions and find out more about the organizers on the chat website. Follow @lrnchat for updates. Recent topics: Robots Need Not Apply, Stress and Learning, Organizational Culture and Learning
Finding and Selecting a Chat
My search was based on scheduling; when are you available to join a conversation? This can be a good place to begin. You can also search for relevant education chats that match your specific interests, such as grade/school level, academic subject, geographic location and educational strategy. You can also find interesting chats that bring educators and professionals in other industries together to discuss social media, technology, careers, writing, publishing and more.
Search the possibilities captured in the following directories to identify additional chats that meet your needs and availability:
- Chat Salad: helps you find chats happening now in your time zone
- Education Chats on Twitter: maintained by a group of educators
- Twitter Chat Schedule: published by Twitter archiving service TweetReports.com
- Twitter Chats: provided by Twubs, a hashtag filtering tool
Most chats have established their own culture over time and can be informal and conversational or more structured and focused on problem solving. Some chats cover more controversial issues while others focus on networking and resource exchange. There are a few things you can look for to get a better idea of what to expect from a particular group:
- Website, Blog or Wiki: Many chats set up a landing page somewhere online with basic background information about the topics covered, intended audience and related resources. I’ve linked to several of these in the list of chats above.
- Moderator(s) or Host(s): Each chat has a leader or group of leaders who help select weekly topics and facilitate the live discussion. A guest hosts format is also popular, introducing a new chat leader for each session. Follow the moderator’s Twitter account before you join the chat to learn more about them and receive updates on the next chat topic.
- Dates and Times: Once you’ve identified a chat to attend double-check the date and time it will be held. Some chats are weekly, while others take place twice a month, monthly, or even less frequently. Don’t assume the advertised time is in your time zone, or that a weekly chat will take place every week. Even #IOLchat takes a break for holidays and special events.
Ready to give it a try? Add an upcoming chat to your calendar. Set up a reminder or alert that gives you 10 or 15 minutes to log in, filter the hashtag and make sure the chat is still a “go” that week. When the chat starts, introduce yourself and join in!
What are your favorite education chats and hashtags to follow? Share your recommendations with us, and with your colleagues and students.
Image credit: mkhmarketing, Flickr, CC:BY
Source: Inside Online Learning Blog