Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A New Year And A New Way To Twitter Chat

After being involved with the creation, participation and evolution of one of the largest hashtags and Twitter chats around (#edchat) I always hear the same feedback wherever I go. Things like:

  • I like the chat, but it’s too hard to follow. 
  • Is there a pause button so I can slow it down and read what everyone is saying? 
  • There’s a lot of great information but the archives are difficult to search to find what I am looking for. 

And over the years, there have been many suggestions that we and others have offered to help participating in these necessary learning events easier -  and the experience better. These suggestions have included creating specific columns in apps like Tweetdeck and using chat specific sites like Tweetchat. But there wasn’t really one place where educators could go to have a better chat experience...

Until now.

The folks over at Participate Learning have created Chats, a new platform to help anyone participate, follow or catch up on their favorite Twitter chats. As well, Chats is integrated with everything else you can do with Participate Learning, including finding vetted resources, creating collections around topics or lesson plans, and collaborating with others on resource suggestions and how to incorporate in instruction. Here is a Medium post from their CEO that explains why the built Chats.

It works like this.

Head over to their Chats page and pick the chat you want to participate in (live or after the fact). They have over 150 listed, with plans to add more as well as a place to suggest one you’d like to see there. Connect your Twitter account or use your free Participate Learning account and wham-o! You see all the things to make your chat experience better. No only are the Tweets there (that you can scroll through at your leisure), but you have a list of current participants and a whole box of nothing but the resources being shared. You can tweet right from the Chats page, Retweet, Favorite, Reply and other things available in Twitter clients.

So imagine, you have gone through your chat and you want to see the blog posts, websites, apps and more that were shared. Rather than going through the tweets, Participate Learning Chats gathers them all for you right there. Now you can combine those resources with the power of Participate Learning and send them to a collection to share with others, or come back to later.

And it’s not just resources either. You can create your own archive of the chat for any time length up to four hours, and save what you need to share it or come back to later.

What’s great about all this is you don’t even have to be in a chat. You can use these features any time. We know that hashtags are a great way to share information and there is awesome stuff being shared all the time. You can visit Participate Learning Chats and have all the access to the tweets, participants, resources, archives and sharing features.

My only addition I think would be great here would be a calendar to know the dates and times of all the chats listed (and the folks at Participate Learning tell me that is coming really soon!). The Education Chats Calendar also has that information so you can head there before participating.

So head over to Participate Learning and check out their new Chats feature. Use it for your next Twitter chat and let me know what you think!
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