Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Present of Twitter chats

This post was motivated by a voxcast held by +Justin Schleider on the death of Twitter chats.

Notice I chose to talk about the current state of Twitter chats - the present, not the future,  

The podcast sought to deal with five pivotal questions, namely:

  1. Do you participate in Twitter chats? Why?
  2. Has your participation of Twitter chats increased or decreased in the past 6 months? Why?
  3. What makes a great Twitter chat?
  4. What is the limitation or negatives of a Twitter chat?
  5. What are your favorite Twitter chats?
A few things caught my attention:

Taking an hour off of our hectic schedules to talk to other educators may seem too much, but we spend that amount of time or more in institutionalized training sessions or conferences. And time flies when you're having fun (pardon the cliché). This podcast took around 50 minutes, by the way. 

Nobody has to be nice on Twitter chats. Agreed, some people may exaggerate in their compliments, but like in face to face meetings, we are careful not to offend unnecessarily. Only when we get to know someone, do we remove those social pleasanteries of human interaction. 

A chat can be accused of many things, but pigeonholing a topic sounds overboard. There are many chats that use and edcamp style or a slowchat format - which works well for many. Having specific topic works just as well for many educators who need to know exactly what they are getting into. If the topic is not of their interest, then they probably won't stick around anyway. 

In short, Twitter chats may not be dead - like any other teaching/learning resource, they depend on how we particpants make the most of them. A change of format is most definitely welcome - maybe for starters, integrating it with other platforms like Periscope, Blab or other livestreaming tools. 

An ongoing discussion. 


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The second time around

Last week, Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) invited my colleague Julie Szaj and I to cover the #whatisschool chat on June 30th and suggested we cover a topic that would also apply to our regular #nt2t chat, held every Saturday at 9am EST. We accepeted the challenge and decided to discuss the importance of a PLN for teachers in general and for teachers who are new to Twitter. Having a PLN has become sort of a buzz topic in education might is something that still can be great value to all the stakeholders in the learning process. This gave birth to the title of the chat: Wanting to problematize the practice, as @ziegeran proposes, I thought we could split the six-question format of most Twitter chats to having three questions in one chat and three questions in the other. This I hoped would give participants more time to relfect on the questions, engage in more side conversations and discuss the issues at length. The group, in the end, thought it best to stick to the six-question format and to use the same questions in both chats. If the chance to discuss fewer questions was discarded for the moment, having a "rerun" of the questions on a different chat provided us with new insights from different participants hailing from diverse teaching contexts. After all, reflection is vital to learning The amount of ideas, insights and resources abounded, but I would like to focus on one point, which had to do with WHO is your PLN: We tend to think of this network as like-minded professionals who we can learn from and share with. But @stuartkellynz drew my attention to something that is often ignored: When teachers comment on another teacher's pedagogy-in-play, the most wonderful intentions and feedback/feedforward are often lost in a mix of educational jargon and PC phrasing. Students on the other hand, tend to be exceptionally honest and blunt in the assessment of the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the learning spaces they inhabit. They also tend to give the best advice promptly, often unsolicited or otherwise. Once teachers think of classrooms as learning spaces over teaching spaces, it is only logical to ask the ultimate end-users, the academic consumers and I dearly hope, the academic producers- the students. The feedback from students is very powerful and is very effective to improving the effectiveness of our common learning spaces. To read more of the post, ckick here. Our students can and should be part of our PLN. This was echoed in @VivZappacosta's tweet That's what learning is all about - the chance to see something the second, third, fourth and other times around until it sinks in.

How to grow your PLN using Twitter

Nt2t can't stop

How can Nt2t help you with Twitter?