Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Task 3: Twitter Chat

My first professional Twitter Chat experience was very brief.  I went to #edteach on April 16, 2013 at 8 p.m., but quickly realized it was designed for pre-service teachers (which I Googled and found out was synonymous with student teachers . . . where have I been?)  It was actually a valuable mistake, however, because they instructed participants how to set up a TweetDeck which I had never done before.  It was a nice, tidy way to view the Tweets.

Then, Jeannette C. sent me a link to Weekly Twitter Chat Schedules from Teachbytes.  I was particularly interested in the #flipclass (flipped classroom teachers) that chats 8-9 p.m. EST on Mondays.  On April 29, I monitored the chat session moderated by @LS_Karl and @lindsaybcole.  Here's @LS_Karl's description:

@lindsaybcole and I are pinch-moderating #flipclass chat tonight: moving towards a paperless classroom. Join us - 8pm EST!

Since I have difficulty multitasking, it was a bit overwhelming to watch the speedy tweets zoom by and to try to sort out which answers went with which questions (not everyone follows directions and writes A2 for Q2).  Most of the participants were high school teachers and college professors, so I didn't have a lot in common with them.  I'll have to find a more suitable group later.

While I was researching educational Twitter Chats, I came across these three tips for teachers new to Twitter by Bill Ferriter.  It has great information, so I thought I'd share some of it on this blog . . . but it does look oddly familiar.  Is this something we already learned about in our ETrainer meetings?  Maybe 11 Tools?  Anyway, if I had learned it before, it hadn't completely sunk in; and it certainly doesn't hurt to have good ideas reinforced.  Here's an excerpt from Bill Ferriter's blog:

"Anyone who has taken the digital leap into the Twitterstream has felt lost and unloved at some point in their early work to use the short messaging service as a learning tool. Having heard that Twitter makes it possible to instantly connect with really bright people, new users expect more than Twitter gives in the first few months — and that simple truth leads to a wasteland of discarded accounts."

 Here's his advice:

1. Spend your early time on Twitter following important educational hashtags. "Searching for the hashtags related to your field — a process facilitated by retired teacher librarian Jerry Blumengarten, who maintains an exhaustive list of educational hashtags on his website — can instantly connect you with a constantly refreshed list of new ideas worth exploring."

2. Persuade colleagues to join Twitter with you.  "The mistake that I’d made was joining Twitter alone and hoping that people would  magically find — and then start networking with — me."  

3. Remember that you build relationships in Twitter one good deed at a time.  "Want a responsive network that offers you just-in-time support and quick answers to important questions? Then start by being responsive and offering quick answers to other people’s important questions! Spend time each day and/or week sifting through the streams of messages being shared by people that you are following and find ways to lend a hand."

* This was a valuable experience.  It was fascinating to see how many teachers use Twitter chats on a consistent basis.
* I will probably do it again when I have more time (summer!)
* I could offer a training on campus through this method, but I think there are other methods that are just as effective (i.e., Edmodo).

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