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Welcome to the third step in our free professional learning series on building your PLN.

The aim of this step is to:

  1. Explain what is Twitter chat.
  2. Explain the benefits of participating in Twitter Chats as part of your PLN.
  3. Provide tips for getting the most out of Twitter Chats

What are Twitter Chats?

Twitter chats are one of the best ways for educators to connect with other educators, exchange and debate ideas, ask for help and provide assistance, find new resources and take action.

Twitter chats are where educators meet at a set ‘meeting time’ to engage in conversations by sending out tweets on a topic using a designated hashtag during a specific time on a certain day.  Most twitter chats last for an hour.

During the twitter chat you’ll see educators tweet their responses in real time.  The best way to participate in a Twitter chat is to set up twitter search for the hashtag in TweetDeck, Hootsuite or in the Twitter app on your mobile device.

You’ll find our step by step instructions for using Tweetdeck for Twitter Chats here.

Intro to Hashtags

A hashtag is any word on twitter that starts with the “#” hash (pound) sign.

Hash tags make it easier to search and follow the twitter conversations on specific topics or during a twitter chat.

How it works is everyone agrees to use a standard hash tag in their tweets.  You set up a search for that hashtag using your twitter client, or use twitter search tools such as Twitter SearchTwitterfall or Tagboard to track the conversation.

Participating in a Twitter Chat

Twitter chats normally have several moderators who guide the conversation during the chat using a Question and Answer format.  Prior to the Twitter chat the moderators decide on the topic of the chat and organize a series of 5-10 questions to ask during the chat.  Below is an example of a twitter chat using #moedchat (Missouri Educators Chat).

The chat normally starts by introducing the topic and asking participants to introduce themselves.

Welcome to chat

Participants respond by including the hashtag for the chat in their tweet (in this example all replies include the hashtag #moedchat).

Recipients respond

Once introductions are finished the moderators will commence guiding the conversation using their questions.  Each question is normally starts with a Q and an number to indicate which question it is.

Moderator question

Participants replies normally start with an A and a number to indicate which question they are answering as well as the chat hashtag.

Responses

Twitter chats are a conversation — you can add your extra thoughts to any one’s answer by replying to their tweet and including the hashtag.  Provided the hashtag is included everyone in the twitter chat will see your reply.

Conversations

Any tweets you want to refer back to later you just mark as favorite.  Favorites are represented by a small star icon next to the tweet.  When you favorite a tweet the original person who posted the tweet is notified that you like their tweet.

Favorite

You access the tweets you have favorited by clicking on Me in the top right navigation bar via the web or on your Twitter app on your mobile device and clicking on Favorites.

But don’t worry if you can’t keep up!  Moderators often archive or curate the information and resources shared during the chat session using tools like Storify.

Getting started with Twitter Chats

Here is a list of popular Twitter Chats to help you get started:

  • #edchat – normally takes place on Tuesdays around 12 PM EST (USA) and 7 PM EST (USA).  Learn more here.
  • #edchatie – Irish friendly version of #edchat (learn more here).  Takes place every Monday night 8.30-9.30 PM (GMT).
  • #engchat –  English freiendly version of #edchat (learn more here).  Takes place every Monday at 7-8 PM EST (GMT).
  • #kinderchat – for those working with younger children (learn more here).  Takes place on Mondays 9.00 PM EST (USA) and 8:30 PM EST (USA).
  • #lmchat – For those interested in the topic of learning from one another and who want to discuss how to help other people learn in formal, informal, social and mobile ways (learn more here).  Takes place Thursdays at 8:30-9:30 PM EST (USA)
  • #spedchat – for special education (see more here).  Takes place on Tuesdays from 9:00-10:00 PM EST (USA).
  • #ukfechat – for UK educators interested in further education discussions (see more here). Takes place on Thursdays 9:00-10:00 PM (GMT).

You’ll find a complete list of weekly Twitter Chats here.

To get the most out of a Twitter chat we recommend you set up twitter search for the hashtag in TweetDeck, Hootsuite or in the Twitter app on your mobile device.

You’ll find our step by step instructions for using Tweetdeck for Twitter Chats here.

Your Task

We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about PLNs by undertaking one or more of these challenges:

  1. Do a Twitter search of one of the Twitter Chats and check out the information shared during the twitter chat.  Here is a Twitter search of #edchat to get you started.  You’ll notice educators use the #edchat hashtag outside of the designated chat time to share resources, ask questions and help each other. Leave a comment on this post to share what you learnt from checking out the tweets shared via the Twitter chat hashtag. For example, tell us about any resources, or ideas, you discovered reading through the twitter chat conversation.
  2. Set up TweetDeck and add a column for a Twitter Chat you want to follow.  Here is our step by step instructions for using Tweetdeck for Twitter Chats to help.  Leave a comment on this post to share how you went setting up Tweetdeck and share your tips on using Tweetdeck.
  3. Join a Twitter Chat.  Here is a complete list of weekly Twitter Chats to get you started!  Leave a comment on this post to share what you learnt from participating in the twitter chat.  Tell us about any resources, or ideas, you discovered during the Twitter chat.  Remember if you need any help during a twitter chat — we’re always happy to assist.  Just send a tweet @suewaters or @edublogs.
  4. Write a blog post about your initial impressions of Twitter Chats. You could include – what you see as obstacles to taking part in Twitter Chat, what you have learnt from participating in a Twitter Chat, what tips would you give to someone new to Twitter chats?  Don’t forget to leave a comment here with the link to your post.

Also feel free to leave a comment to ask any questions or share your tips.

42 Comments

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  1. I really like how teachers on Twitter chats share examples of their students’ work. I think generation and sharing of ideas via Twitter is what makes these chats so valuable and I look forward to using and participating in them even more moving forward.

  2. I am still learning about this and I think that as I use it and become more comfortable with it, it will be better for me to follow and be a part of it all.

  3. I think that following a twitter chat is a little easier than to write a blog post. During the twitter chat you are contributing in real time to what the other educators are talking about. I think a blog post can be longer and therefore it presents some challenges to be able to express yourself but be able to continue to follow what others are saying. Since on the twitter chat you need to express your thoughts using less characters, I think it is easier to follow.

  4. Tweetdeck is a better way to organize your tweets when following a tweetchat and it lets you have columns to make it easier to follow the chat and the comments. When I went to the instructions, it made it easier to follow the instructions by adding the pictures on how every step was supposed to look like. Using pictures makes it easier to follow and to understand.

  5. From #edchat, I like the one that posted the words about how not to have students acting like it is the end of the school year is not to have teachers that act like it is the end of the school year. I keep my students engaged and learning by me being engaged and learning as well. They know I do care about them and about their success.

  6. I discovered some neat ideas on the Twitter Chat, #edchat. One idea that I liked was instead of posting a long list of classroom rules, you could post your commitments as a teacher to your students, such as that you will believe in them, you will be there to help them, you will have fun with them, and you will value them. Another idea that I liked was creating an end-of-day activity for the students to briefly show one thing that they learned that day.

  7. I searched #edchat and found some pretty interesting tweets, retweets and more. Some of the tweets were quotes that could be powerful topic dicussions for professional developments, other were helpful links to teaching topics and others were links to news articles. The twitter chats are a great way to see current trends in education.

  8. I discovered that twitter chats can offer some helpful tips on teaching and offer resources, but also that it can be a place for teachers to simply talk a little about what their experience is. They can share frustrating things or big realizations. In other words, twitter chats can also be important outlets.

  9. I found a weekly chat that I would like to be a part of, however, being available on Tuesday’s at 8:00pm could prove to be a challenge

    • Hi Barb C, could you please provide details and a link to the chat so others can join in with the chat.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  10. Started following aplangchat and really looking forward to hearing what other teachers have to say. I just finished my first year teaching this class and I would love some pointers.

  11. Wow, setting up TweetDeck was easy! I am still learning about Twitter, but am happy to say I found many great resources by just clicking around through conversations. I can see how these conversations amongst people around the world can be beneficial. It was also interesting to see some of the quotes about education. Some of these quotes included, “You Can Make the Difference!” and “The biggest irony is that the people criticizing teachers the most, lack all the qualities needed to be a teacher.” These were motivating to me, and have given me the positivity needed to keep striving to be the best teacher I can be, by continuing my focus on my students rather than just simply teaching.

    • Well done Brittany! Twitter is also a great way to drive visitors to your blog. Please share your twitter address so others following this post can follow you.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  12. I started using TweetDeck last month. I’d say that I really like the ‘column’ feature and the real time tweeting experience that it provides. Unfortunately, I had not been lucky enough to take part in a scheduled twitter chat so far, however, I have participated in ‘off time’ hashtag discussions and shared resources etc. I like #edchat and have learnt a lot of new stuff through this chat.

  13. Two weeks ago I finally set up TweetDeck for my Twitter account. I wish I would have done this sooner. I love it. I also joined in on my first twitter chat and it was amazing. I will definitely do it again. I have set up columns for #inquirychat #edchat # ipadchat #elachat and #geniushour. My classroom joined the slow chat last week for the GRA and The Fourteenth Goldfish. My students liked to see the other questions posted and to add their own to the chat.

    I have found many valuable resources and links on Twitter. I have been sending them to my school computer and adding them to my documents under twitter connections but I need a better way to save them so they are organized and easier to share with my colleagues and for me to find them. Any ideas and help in this area would be very much appreciated.

    My class is really enjoying their class blog and I have helped the Grade 5 teacher set hers up now. Thanks again for this great challenge. I have gone from nothing in the summer to twitter, Facebook and created my own class blog. The technology climb has definitely been a steep one but I am enjoying it.

    • Kelly Onyskiw
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  14. Love to participating in twitter chats!!! Would love to see how we could implement this an a secure manner at the middle school level?

    • Hi Lisa

      Thanks for sharing a link to your Twitter chat post. I’ve shared your post on Twitter.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  15. Setting up Tweetdeck was a cinch (does anyone say that any more?) and I can’t wait to try the three chats I’m schedule to attend. I’ve chosen #spedchat, #mededchat, and #symchat. I also came across #coffeeEDU. “#coffeeEDU is a 1 hour unconference for educators, fun and easy to set up. Details http://coffeeEDU.org” Coffee? Sure I’ll meet other teachers! Archived chats are a time saver. Twice now, because Life happens, I’ve missed chats. I can easily go back and review what occurred.

    • Hi Cyndi

      Thanks for sharing a link to your Twitter Chat post! I’ve scheduled it to tweet out later today. #coffeeEDU is a great idea. Other ones to look out for in your area are TeachMeets and EdCamps.

      I also have a walking group. We catch up every Saturday morning blending exercise with chatting (and food!).

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  16. twitter chats enables everyone who is following you to respond to whatever question, idea, or interest you have based on a live feed like a ‘chat.’ It’s a great way to have meetings that include people around the world. Knowing and learning about other peoples ideas and how you can incorporate it into the classroom is an awesome tool, especially for teachers who are just entering the new world of how people interact via twitter, blogs, FB, Yahoo, etc..

    • Maria-Luisa DeMayo
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  17. Twitter chats are awesome. Some move REALLY fast (like #caedchat) while others, namely #slowchated, are specifically designed to allow you “think time”. I have found that TweetDeck is the best for me to manage my participation, though Twubs is a good one if the chat moves at a moderate pace. I have learned to move the chat column I am participating in up to the front (or to the left) and place it next to my home and notifications columns. This way I can track my full Twitter feed, the chat, and any side conversations all at a glance since three columns are what comfortably fit on my screen.

    I love OneTab (Chrome extension) for curating all of the resources I am interested in that are shared out in a chat. This is one collection of resources that was a lot of fun to discuss but also a great collection to return to as we move towards adding 3D printers ourselves: http://goo.gl/uObKFe.

    I think it is so fantastic that there are chats for an group and/or sub group that you can think of within education. We are so fortunate to belong to a profession where so many of our colleagues WANT to learn and are willing to share. We really hold each other up and push each other forward every day.

    • Anne Schaefer-Salinas
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    • Hi Anne

      Thanks for sharing your tips of participating in Twitter Chats.

      Haven’t tried One Tab. Would love to hear more about One Tab. Have you compared it with Diigo?

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      • Sue,

        I have not used Diigo, so I can’t really compare. I can tell you that OneTab is a Chrome extension that is super simple to use. I simply activate the extension and any open tabs are curated into a single list on my OneTab page. I can then name that list, share it or delete it.

        Anne

        • Anne Schaefer-Salinas
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        • Hi Anne

          Diigo works very similar. You install the Diigolet bookmarket in your browser. Using Diigo is covered in Step 7 of building your PLN.

          Sue Waters
          Support Manager
          Edublogs | CampusPress

  18. Quick question – are there any programs that remind you when a Twitter chat of interest is starting? Just wondering 🙂

    • Ms K Kauffman
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  19. I am aware of Twitter chats, but I have only ever participated on Twitter asynchronously. I was excited to learn of the Twitter chat schedule, and have copied it into my drive account! As a school librarian, it is my goal to participate in one of the upcoming #tlchats. I’ve seen the questions and answers to some of the #edchat discussions show up on my feed, but I’ve never gotten into the conversation. I guess there’s no time like the present! I do like the idea of some of the curation programs so that it becomes easier to follow one particular thread, or else two threaded side-by-side. Looking forward to testing it all out!

    • Ms K Kauffman
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    • Hi Ms Kauffman

      Any thing I can think of is setting up Google Reminders to alert you as to when a Twitter chat is about to commence. My favorite curation program for Twitter chats is Storify. I like how it allows me to quickly pull the information into a Storify while letting me quickly add extra information. I find favoriting Tweets during the chat helps curate the information into Storify. Here is an example of a Storify from a Twitter chat – https://storify.com/suewaters/blogging-personal-or-professional-educational-blog

      I’ll occasionally brainstorm an idea using Storify and then compile it into a blog post.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  20. I use Tweetdeck as I find that it is useful when organising the different chats. I try to participate in #AussieEd and #satchatOC chats as those are usually at a convenient time for me. They have a variety of topics that interest me. I also used to participate in the #nt2t chat (new to Twitter) at 11pm on a Saturday night but it’s not always a good time. It was useful as I was trained on Evernote and IFFFT via that chat – very hectic and a challenge to keep up. One thing I would say is that instead of attending many twitter chats, pick the ones with topics you are interested in. Trying to learn everything whilst learning how to use Twitter can become confusing. Most chats post their topics in advance so you can see whether you want to participate in them.

    • Hi Lisa

      Another option if you want to pull resources from a Twitter chat that occurs while you are asleep is to subscribe to the hashtag in Flipboard. This is a handy way of quickly checking the information that was shared. Let me know if you would like more information on how I use Flipboard.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      • Hi Sue

        I’ve played around with Flipboard a bit but have only just connected my twitter feed to it. I did follow someone’s ISTE14 conference flipboard- very useful. If you can give me more tips on it, that would be great. I’m trying to collect resources around student voice at the moment and I’d like to curate a variety of resources for it.

        thanks
        Lisa

  21. Everything so far has been smooth sailing. Now when contemplating Twitter Chats, honestly, I feel quite intimidated. So, I am going to take a break and go back and re-read that section and try again tomorrow when I am bright-eyed and bushy tailed. In other words, I am more of a morning person.

  22. Just did my TweetDeck app and want to say, “That was easy!” Thanks for all the great scaffolding which makes me not feel overwhelmed, but makes me feel Iike I am really making good progress at building my PLN.

    • Hi Angela

      Great to hear you’ve now worked out how to use TweetDeck! It makes participating in Tiwitter chats easier!

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  23. Its quite ironic that this is the third step. I have participated in Twitter chats before, but recently I moderated a chat for #SMARTee. That is a chat for educators who are a part of SMART’s Exemplary Educators program. It is a weekly chat which happens Tuesday nights starting around 9pm EST. Here is a link to the Storify archive: https://storify.com/Gallagher_Tech/smartee-chat-9-30-14

    *Side Note* I love when a chat is archived; it makes it so much easier to go back and reference later.

  24. Although twitter chat seems like a great way to communicate and share ideas, I can’t seem to make it work for me. I, sometimes, come across some chat that gets me lost. However, I must say that twitter chat is pretty popular with many students.

    • It can get a little confusing at times! Most people I know that participate in Twitter chats use a tool such as Tweetdeck to help them keep pace with the chat.

      Dan Leeman, Edublogs Support