Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Give a Chat a Chance...that is a Twitter Chat!
What is a hashtag?
It is a keyword or phrase that is preceded by the # symbol. Hashtags help connect people with similar interests. Some popular education-related hashtags can be found at this website: http://www.teachthought.com/twitter-hashtags-for-teacher/ Many hashtags have scheduled meeting times each week. This creates a Twitter Chat.
What’s a Twitter Chat?
It is usually a weekly event where many users participate in a discussion via tweets on a specific topic, usually using a predetermined hashtag at a designated time. Larger chats can involve hundreds of participants and thousands of tweets. If that is overwhelming to you as a newbie you can just follow the chat without tweeting until you are comfortable with the format. Some of the chats like #edchat discuss broad educational issues while others are based on topic, content area, grade level, job type, or geographical region. A few examples:
#enghat: This chat for English teachers happens every Monday at 7pm ET
#mathchat: This UK-based chat for math teachers and students happens twice a week at 8pm ET on most Thursday nights and 8:30 pm on Mondays ET
#cpchat: The cp stands for Connected Principals. It happens every Wednesday at 5pm PT/8pm ET
#mschat: Middle school topics for MS teachers happens Thursdays 8pm ET
Here is a list of more education-related chats. http://bit.ly/officialchatlist
There are many reasons to join a chat including resource sharing, networking, and contributing to the profession. Chats give a voice to teachers who may not otherwise have the opportunity. Chats are immediate and concise. They provide an opportunity to connect with educators across the globe. Chats have become the new Professional Development format. Like a webinar, you do not have to leave your home. There are more than 150 free online PD workshops/chats a week in the twitter world.
Many times chat moderators will number their questions with Q1 and Q2 so participants can respond with their answers as A1 and A2. Also, free services such as TweetDeck or HootSuite can be used to link to your Twitter account and allow you to manage tweets and chats.