Twitter Chats in Education

If you’re on Twitter, you may have come across hashtags or people talking about participating in chats. Twitter chats in education are popular because they give educators an easy way to participate in a community around a specific topic that matters to them. Twitter chats can happen on any topic, but today I’m going to talk about some education-specific chats coming up. For those unfamiliar with Twitter chats, first things first!

What is a Twitter chat?

HashtagA Twitter chat is a public conversation on Twitter around a specific topic using a hashtag. These events are also referred to by a variety of names including (but not limited to) tweet chats, hashtag chats or Tweet parties. Hashtags are a great way to follow a topic and see what people are saying about it in the Twittersphere. A hashtag can be created or searched on by putting a ‘#’ symbol in front of a word (Ex: #edchat).

Chats usually have a designated start and stop time and are often recur weekly or monthly. Even though conversations may happen outside that time frame by using the specified hash tag, the chat time is a great way to get people who are interested in the topic engaged with one another for a short period of time. There is normally a leader or moderator who will lead the chat, post a topic, and help keep participants on track.

How do I participate in a Twitter chat?

Simple. Find a topic that interests you by watching for hashtags posted by people you already follow, or search trending topics on Twitter or a site like Hashtags.org or WhattheTrend.com.

When the time comes for the chat to start, there are several ways you can monitor and participate:

Things can move pretty fast and be a little intimidating at first, so using something like TweetChat.com or HashTags.org will allow you to pause or control the refresh rate of the tweets in order to allow you to follow along without making your head spin! A lot of times the moderator will send an archive of the chat once it’s over so you can browse all the tweets from the chat at your leisure.

Are there any upcoming chats I can check out?

So glad you asked! There are two great opportunities for education chats coming up.

#esntsc

The first is a chat sponsored by eSchoolNews and us – TechSmith! It is a Twitter hour hosted by Graham Johnson, Math Department Head for Okanagan Mission Secondary in Kelowna, BC, Canada. He’ll be chatting with folks about the following questions:

  • What is the flipped model (very general overview)?
  • What issues arose that caused Graham to create an interactive video aimed at parents?
  • Why is it important to get parental buy-in?
  • What kinds of reactions has Graham had from parents?
  • What other buy-in is important to get for the flipped model to be successful?

Graham JohnsonThis chat takes place Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 from 8 to 9 p.m. EST. Use hashtag #esntsc to participate, and be sure to follow moderator Graham Johnson on Twitter (@Math_Johnson) and hosts @eSchoolNews and @TechSmithEDU for reminders.

#flipclass

The second is a weekly chat hosted by the Flipped Learning Network. This chat covers a variety of topics involving the flipped classroom model and is decided by the chat participants ahead of time. People can submit their ideas and then vote on which one they like best before chat time.

Brian BennettYou can check out past #flipclass chat topics, submit an idea for a topic and vote for the weekly topic on educator Brian Bennett’s blog, or by following @FlippedLearning and @BennettScience on Twitter.

This chat takes place Mondays from 8 to 9 p.m. EST and can be found with hashtag #flipclass.

There are lots of other great education chats that happen as well – and they aren’t all about the flipped classroom. Start by checking this list of education-specific hashtags from Edudemic.com to start participating!

Have a great chat that isn’t listed above? Let us know in the comments!