I’ve already written about my newfound love for twitter, and why I think it is the best free tool for teachers seeking professional development out there. In the past two weeks, I have taken my engagement to the next level and participated in four twitter chats, two #sschats, one #21stedchat, and one #engchat. A twitter chat for those who don’t know takes place at a set time and all participants use a hashtag to follow and continue the conversation. It is an amazing way to connect with educators from all over the world who come together to share resources, explore challenges, and ask questions.
The experience of following and engaging in a twitter chat is invigorating. I found myself constantly bookmarking, emailing links, and retweeting or favoriting resources and ideas from fellow participants. #sschat is particularly lively and active, and I picked up many tips and resources for our American Studies course and about teaching in general. Two weeks ago the topic was Evernote and Livebinder. I already use livebinder extensively and was able to both contribute tips for newbies and learn a great deal from educators far more proficient than I am. I already had Evernote on my ipad, but I had only experimented a bit with it. This chat really got me thinking about transitioning to Evernote, and for the past two weeks I have used it exclusively to create and archive lesson plans, keep track of handouts and readings, and manage my bookmarks. I’ll discuss the benefits of Evernote later in a post. Suffice it to say, I am now hooked and this chat has already had a significant impact on my teaching and given me a new mechanism to keep track of everything in my teaching and personal life. Pretty cool!
This week the topic of #sschat was Women’s History, and I again gained valuable resources and exchanged ideas with insightful and engaging educators. I am sure the quality of different chats varies, but I am definitely hooked on the ones I have tried so far. I highly recommend trying a chat out or viewing the archives of past chats.
If you want to find out more about how to find chats to serve your purposes or for some guidance on how to use twitter and engage in twitter chats, please check out the board I made on Learn.ist where I compiled the best advice I could find and a directory of hashtags and twitter chats.
I hope you will try out a chat. I’d love to hear which ones you have found most valuable. Who knows maybe I’ll even see you there.