Scrolling through twitter one year ago, I noticed A1. and Q4: and I noticed #edchat and #flipclass. As I’ve moved from lurker to engager, I took on the role of moderator this summer, to host a Twitter Chat.
In my coursework this summer, I am serving as a consultant for a classmate, Drew Missureli, to help them solve a problem of practice. Drew’s problem, is teaching the trig identities unit, and making it meaningful for students. To best help him, I had to consult a professional learning network (PLN).
Twitter is a far-reaching network, that is inclusive and easy to use. I decided to host aTwitter Chat to reach out to my PLN, because I knew this was something I could promote and facilitate, but that ultimately, I would allow other educators to collaborate on this idea, without much probing on my end.
Hosting a Chat
After deciding to host a chat, I did a lot of research. I searched prior chats, and took notes on how the moderator introduced themselves, and how they explained the logistics.
I looked into the number of questions I should ask, and the standard length of time between questions, to prepare. When I put together my question list, I consulted several people, and put them all on Padlet, so that I could push them out to participants in advance.
Finally, I set the timing based on several factors. I am studying in Galway, Ireland, 5 hours ahead of EST, where most of the teachers I expected to participate live. This wouldn’t allow me to have an evening chat, but being the summer time, I was able to schedule an afternoon chat, that any teacher in the US would be able to engage in.
To promote the event, I started by creating a Facebook event, and reaching out to specific people who I thought would have interest. I also asked classmates to share this with friends from home. I had several “shares” of my event on Facebook, and tweets and retweets about the event as I promoted from my twitter account.
With this type of promotion, for a chat that wasn’t regularly scheduled, or consisting of an existingTwitter Chat audience, I also pushed out a blog, that explained how to participate in a Twitter Chat.
Just before the chat began, I tweeted out the links to Drew’s blog again, as well as the questions and the blog that introduced participation in a Twitter Chat (to follow the chat, click HERE).
When we got underway, I had my tweets prepared and ready to go. I used Evernote to keep all of my prepared tweets off to the side, to save time.
I welcomed each partipant as they introduced themselves, and found that when I stared with questions, it was more about feeling out the process than anything else.
It wasn’t as simple as “8 minutes per question,” as a moderator, you’re responsible for probing and questioning as people respond, as well as retweeting comments that may benefit the whole group. Once the chat was going, people started to interact with each other more, and I found that sometimes, 10 minutes in between questions was the best timing, other times 7 minutes was more appropriate.
The chat was like a dance, the music would pick up or slow down, and I was simply the DJ on the side, trying to keep people on the floor, and maybe attract a lurker on the outside.
In our final question, participants were asked to provide resources if any. I originally didn’t have this question on my list, but realized this is why people would be coming to chat. My goal was to get into a deeper discussion, but felt that a sharing of resources at the end would be a good way to go out.
Near the start of the conversation, we had discussed any best practices, or ways to get students thinking. Kevin talked about the Trig Identity Hexagon, but didn’t see a YouTube video that was already made and easy to understand. He stepped away from the chat to make one of his own, then sent it out to the group.
Later in the chat, Bethany brought up students solving the identities like a puzzle, and provided a resource for a trig riddle.
In addition to these resources, Barb linked us to her pre-cal app, that includes resources that are updated on a consistent basis.
Professionally, the chat was a big step forward. I found that hosting a “new” chat was a challenge, but it was a good challenge, and one that helped me grow. I was grateful to get knowledgable and engaged participants, and I hope they were able to grow their own practice by participating with a network outside of their school/community.
This experience not only served as a professional milestone for me, but I also gained valuable knowledge to help me solve my classmate’s problem of practice.
One down, many to go!