Twitter Chats and Webinars

For the past three weeks in EdTech 543, we have been exploring the world of Twitter Chats and Live Webinars. Our mission was to “attend” and contribute to four live webinars and four live Twitter chats.

In order to participate in a Twitter chat, you must first find a topic that interests you and determine if there is a set time that topic will be discussed. Once the time has come for the Twitter chat to start, you will search for the hashtag (ie – #EdTechSN) and contribute tweets with that same hashtag. A dashboard application I like to use for participation in Twitter chats and helping manage Twitter is TweetDeck.

For Live Webinars, you watch and listen to a presentation while simultaneously participating in discussion via the webinars chat feature and/or via a specific hashtag on Twitter. These Webinars can be held through a multitude of online platforms such as Blackboard Collaborate. Once again, I like to use TweetDeck to contribute to these webinars.

All the webinars I participated in were for an online global event highlighting teaching and learning through The Future of Education website and used #RSCON5 (Reform Symposium Free Online Conference). This was a new experience for me to both watch a presentation online while participating in discussion via Twitter. I found it to be so much more engaging and allowed me to share my perspective and learning through Twitter. One thing I found quite amazing about contributing to discussion was how my Personal Learning Network expanded because of new followers developed from my tweets referencing #RSCON5. A hashtag can be so powerful.

My experience with Twitter chats was mixed. It was amazing to see the participation level difference among the hashtags. Some were easy to follow, and some were overwhelming. One example was the difference between the #educoach and #edmodochat chats. For the #educoach chat that was focused around Instructional Coaching, I asked a question about what attributes people looked for in an instructional coach and never got an answer. This chat was also easy to follow because hardly anyone participated. On the other hand, the #edmodochat I participated in was quite overwhelming. Even using TweetDeck, it was hard to follow conversations because so many people were posting at the same time. When I asked a question in this chat, I had multiple people respond within a minute, which was pretty amazing.

What I took away from the Twitter chats and Webinar discussions was a whole lot of knowledge on the process . Like most first experiences, I know what I will do differently next time. Most of the knowledge I gained was about the whole real-time chatting and getting used to the multi-tasking of watching a presentation, answering questions, and following hashtags. I really like using TweetDeck and found that it was much easier to use on my computer than just using the Twitter app on my phone. As far as the content is concerned, I learned that we must realize students are not just like we were when we were in school. They are a different generation that thinks differently and has different social norms than we did. In a separate session, they talked about how Gamification has become such a great motivator for today’s generation of student who does not thrive in the traditional classroom. students who In a different webinar, an 18 year old named Paige Woodard talked about her mission to explain the benefits of social media in the classroom. She gave 5 tips for educators:

  1. Respect students’ creativity
  2. Encourage 21st century resources, tools, and innovation
  3. Utilize technology/social media in the classroom for professional purposes
  4. Discuss with students what it means to be a digital citizen
  5. Facilitate student brainstorming and collaboration with peers and professionals

After being immersed in the world of Twitter chats and backchannel discussions during Webinars, I look forward to my future of interacting and collaborating with others from around the world. It’s amazing to see how the professional development experience has evolved over time. Thank you Twitter.