Good morning, friends! I hope you’re all having a fabulous week. Monday was quite busy for me – I launched the first Illuminate digital book study (it’s seriously only day 3, but I’m having a BLAST!), started teaching my online educational technology course, continuing my summer school dual credit Social Studies class, and starting round 2 of my favorite workout program! I’m so thankful for all of these opportunities! One of my many summer “vacation” goals is always to learn from and expand my professional learning network (PLN) through social media, and a great way to do that is to join Twitter chats! If you’ve never joined a Twitter chat before, don’t know what a chat is, or haven’t “chatted” in some time, here are 3 reasons to join Twitter chats this summer!
Connections, Connections, Connections!
Twitter chats give teachers a great opportunity to make invaluable connections with educators all over the world. I hopped into the #EduGladiators chat this past Saturday and added so many great voices to my PLN – voices I would not have been able to hear if I had not joined the chat! #EduGladiators last week focused on blended learning, a subject near and dear to my heart! It was so great to hear descriptions and definitions of what exactly blended learning is and how it can benefit students. Every time I join a Twitter chat, I learn something. It’s fabulous!
Content and Instructional Strategies!
As a high school Social Studies teacher, I often have difficulty finding conferences and/or workshops that are designed specifically for my content. Social Studies is a core content area, but let’s face it, it’s not any of the “big three” – English, Math, or Science. Social Studies sometimes gets pushed to the backburner – and that shouldn’t be! Since finding Twitter chats, I’ve been able to connect, share, and learn with other Social Studies teachers around the world. The collegiality that I feel when I take part in something like #sschat or #sstlap is so great. My fellow Social Studies teachers and I share different ways to present our invaluable content, instructional strategies in Social Studies (I love geeking out about my in-class flip), fun and engaging activities, etc. It’s like a giant Social Studies department meeting that you’ll leave feeling excited about what you teach and how you teach it!
I was at an EdCamp last year, and a participant mentioned that sometimes teachers can feel like they’re the only freaks on their island. Especially if you’re trying new and innovating instructional methods in your classroom, you can feel like a loner – almost as if everyone is eyeing you and your classroom with skepticism. This can make you second-guess your new ideas for your classroom. Join a Twitter chat and you’ll see that there are plenty of freaks on the island with you! Connect with them on Twitter!
Now that you’re excited about jumping into a Twitter chat – where can you find chats that interest you? Check out Participate for a calendar of Twitter chats that you can join directly from their website, or through Twitter by searching the appropriate hashtag. Here are two tips to help you jump on the Twitter chat bandwagon:
—>> Follow this scheme when responding to questions: for Q1 (question 1) begin your response with A1
—>> Be sure to include the chat hashtag somewhere in your response ( I normally add it at the end)
Bonus tip –> use Tweetdeck! Tweetdeck is a free tool (I have it almost constantly open on my Mac) that allows you to create different columns for each hashtag or user you want to follow. It’s awesome!
#IlluminateED officially starts tonight! Be sure to join us on Twitter at 8PM CST to talk about engaging and exploring with tech! Also, like this Facebook page to join our FREE book study!