Thursday, September 9, 2010

Twitter Chats Worth Checking Out...

#Edchat is a year old. Yep. A year. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe how successful it has been. While there are those that believe it is a waste of time, more and more educators are taking time on Tuesday nights (and some on Tuesday afternoons) to participate. Growing from a small group of 3 people to weekly numbers in the 400's to a Facebook fan page with over 1000 active members to one of the largest groups on the EDU PLN, #edchat is a place for those interested in discussing and debating educational issues.

#Edchat takes on very general topics for discussion. We do this so everyone can participate. If you are music teacher you might not have an interest in math topic that week and so on. But what is awesome about social media and Twitter is that you can use it for whatever purpose you see fit. That is why other groups of people have taken it upon themselves to create their own chats for special interests. And frankly, I think that is just awesome.

So what I wanted to do is highlight a few of my favorites. Many of these I just watch each week. Lurking as we call it, to get a feel for what people talk about and to stretch my own thinking. While I hope to give you all the information I may miss something or get something wrong so if I do, please leave me a note in the comments.

#SciChat-As a former science teacher I have to start with this one. Meeting on Tuesday evenings, 9pm EST these teachers discuss pressing issues in science and teaching science. One of the most interesting discussions I have seen was one on the merits of the scientific method and how to teach inquiry in science. Whether you are teaching science at the elementary level or college, there is something for everyone. They also created another hashtag, #scido that aims to get the conversation out of the virtual space and get people to doing. Check out their wiki and join!

#Spedchat- This one is for educators with an interest in teaching or learning more about Special Ed. Organized by @spedteacher (who is, hands down one of the best in this area) one of their recent conversations centered around what do general education teachers need to know about teaching students with special needs. Needless to say, I learned lots. They meet on Tuesdays, 8:30pm EST.

#NTChat- This is another one of my favorites. The goal of each New Teacher chat is to provide a support system to new teachers. Many times these teachers go without anyone to help them in their first years. So #NTChat provides a support network to these teachers. Recently they had a very successful chat with my good friend @shannonmmiller where she discussed media resources new teachers can use. They meet Wednesdays, 7pm EST.

#CPChat- This one isn't really a chat but more of a collective of administrators who are using social media and technology to connect with one another. They have an awesome blog and the contributers are all leaders in education.

The easiest way to follow these is to jump in. If you use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite you can set up a search column that will automatically pull in the tweets with this hashtag. You can also use a service like Tweetgrid or Tweetchat on the day of the chat to participate.

There are lots of other educational related chats on Twitter. My good friend @cybraryman1 has a collection of all of them, a description and the time they meet. (His website is a amazing too!) So check it out. Can't find one that fits your needs? Start one! Thats what we did!

Now get chatting!
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