One of the things I am happiest with that we tried last year, was the start of our own district Twitter chat. We have been sharing Twitter as a powerful professional learning tool for the last couple of years but I wanted to help our teachers experience the effectiveness of a chat by giving them an easy one to join. Hosting your own district chat can have many advantages:
- It is an easy way for people to participate in a chat since they will know some or most of the people participating.
- You can better connect people who may work in different buildings or don’t get to communicate often.
- You can model how you learn and how a Twitter chat can help conversations start.
- You can also focus on those issues that need more discussion and can better start change by sharing out different viewpoints and ideas.
- You can even invite in other professionals to help give their viewpoint and ideas to your group.
No matter what, creating your own district Twitter chat can be a very powerful learning adventure that does not take a lot of time or energy to start, just a willingness to try something new. While this idea had percolated in my brain for a while, I knew it was something I would need help with. I reached out to one of the other teachers I work with, who I knew to be a great user of Twitter and had helped lead some chats before, in order to collaborate on this. Shaeley, @HSelsteacher, was able to give me more insight and ideas that I would have had on my own. (She also did a great job proofreading and fixing my questions.)
We have not had a huge attendance at every chat but we have had some great discussions and these chats have led to more work being done between our participants. There are many times where a connection was formed between participants that led to collaboration or coaching situations.
In the video below, I show you how we got started as I run our most recent monthly chat. It is a little long at 11 minutes (a shorter edit may be created later) but I go into all of the background that got us to where we are today. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at @donovanscience.