Edchat Suggestion

First, I would like to thank Steve Anderson , Tom Whitby, and Shelly Terrell for their great work in organizing and promoting the weekly #edchat on Twitter. I have enjoyed participating and reading the varied opinions on the Tuesday night #edchat”s (7:00-8:00pm EST). My favorite topic was the homework discussion as it really made me think through the purpose of homework. I have also found great educators to follow through the weekly discussions.

But I read these tweets yesterday and it made me think about #edchat a bit more:

iMrsF : “Definitely did not vote for an edtech topic. Seems like we’re just having “preaching to the choir” convos too often…

and mctownsley replied: “@iMrsF as an edchat outsider/lurker, I agree. deep conversations need well-researched or deeply opinionated sides w/opposing views”

Now Matt Townsley’s point about deeper conversations is probably one of the disadvantages of twitter and is best served in blogs and comments. But iMrsF has a legitimate concern. I definitely have felt this about Twitter and blogs in general and also about edchat. Now this is not a criticism of any of these ideas, just an admission of what we probably can all agree on that we need to involve more teacher into our PLN networks.

I have an idea that we set up an #edchat for next week with a topic for “newbies.” Something aimed at teachers who have never been on a blog or seen Twitter. Some suggestions would be sharing examples of tech. integration, or sharing how our PLN helps us learn. I think it needs to be very introductory and inspiring. Then I would challenge all of us that normally participate to invite all of our teachers in our building/district to “lurk.” Show them how to use twitterfall or a similar tool where they can “watch” without having to sign up for twitter.

So what do you think?

7 thoughts on “Edchat Suggestion

  1. Mr. G

    I’m right there with you, Kax. The homework #edchat was definitely the most memorable for me, and I feel like I grew the most from that one.

    I always vote for the most controversial topic just to see some real opinions come out. Unfortunately, every time I submit my vote, I see what I voted for is in last place.

  2. Tom Whitby

    I think your topic suggestion is fine and we should consider it.Please keep in mind the limitations of edchat. We are all limited to 140 characters and we have about a 60 to 90 minute limit before it drops off. There is little time or context for in depth discussion. This venue does not lend itself to that. It does however promote discussion in an open forum that, for many in the discussion, is their first exposure to other’s considered opinions. We are discussing Education topics in numbers that most have not experienced. Opinions are challenged and ideas are brought forward that to some have not been heard before. We also have a global opinion that is lacking in the local faculty room.It would be great if all prepared for the topic by reading anything written on the topic to be discussed but that doesn’t happen in college classes as it should and it doesn’t happen in this format.Edchat was started to promote the discussion and to offer points of view that educators might not have considered without it.The topics from edchat should be researched further and the discussions should continue in other venues. Edchat however is the incubator for the discussions. It is not the final discussion. We need to develop another venue that lends itself to in-depth responses and considered opinions that were inspired by edchat. Yes, it is preaching to the choir, but the choir is who is on Twitter. Twitter represents the leading edge of technology-using educators. We do not get to select those people who involve themselves.
    Please make suggestions for improvement, but consider that the objective of edchat is to be the incubator for educational discussion and not the culmination.

  3. concretekax

    Russ (Mr. G),

    Thanks for the continued comments on my blog. Just to let everyone know Russ had the same idea as me and posted it on twitter as I was writing my post.


    To repeat some of my comments, I started by thanking you guys and this is not a criticism, but a suggestion. I understand the limits of twitter. I believe that #edchat would be a great way to introduce teachers to twitter and the sharing and was suggesting that we dedicate a week to a simple topic AND invite our colleagues to “lurk.” My main point was to ask “Can we use #edchat to introduce more teachers to twitter/ PLN?”


    Funny, but true. I think Tom meant that the leading edge of technology-using educators are using Twitter, which I think is probably true. I do not think he meant that Twitter is the end-all great tool of technology.

    Of course, any educator can sign up for an account so it is not an exclusive club. Would either of you gentleman care to expound on this point????

  4. Steven W. Anderson

    First, I want to thank you for your support of edchat. What started as a conversation among 3 people has blossomed into an amazing discussion of educational issues. We regularly have stakeholders from all parts of the educational arena participate and I feel what we have done is beginning to spark a change. Because of edchat, educators will finally have the same voice as other sectors of our society at an upcoming conference on Twitter and Social Media.

    What you have suggested is an interesting idea. I believe it is important to remember that new users join Twitter everyday. Edchat is a great way to get the voice of educators involved in the discussion. Just like in the classroom, I feel we have created an environment for the safe exchange of ideas.

    I don’t see edchat as “preaching to the choir” although sometimes it feels like that. We are mostly like minded individuals. Rarely do we have topics that teachers would be divided on. (But perhaps we need some every now and then…) Most of our topics center around the “how” of education. I see us as a forum and a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices. Take for example our conversation on filtering. Many alternatives to “mainstream” resources and sites were shared along with ways educators have been successful to remove restrictive filtering. But it did not end there. Some participants advocated for the strict filtering and they had a voice, where as usually they would be drowned out by a sea of progressives.

    I like the idea of an intro session every few (6-8 weeks) to bring new users in. And we are always looking at expanding our reach. One of our participants has taken it upon himself to create a wiki and we are working on a discussion forum as a place to suggest topics and ideas.

    I appreciate the suggestions and I am grateful for your support for not only edchat but for what we are trying to do in education!

  5. Matt Townsley

    Steven makes the point that I was eluding to in my tweet (and I think Russ and Michael are thinking about, too), “We are mostly like minded individuals. Rarely do we have topics that teachers would be divided on.”

    If edutweeps are “like minded” when it comes to these topics, then is there much of an incentive to discuss them? Like Russ, I typically vote for the topic that seems most controversial, because I am interested in hearing/reading both sides of the issue rather than “yeah, I agree” all night long. Controversial topics require research and strong opinions to create meaningful conversation. Is Twitter the best medium for these topics? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean #edchat should be discontinued. To enhance an established and potentially productive venue for conversation known as edchat, the choice of topic is utterly important, particularly if new learning is to occur.

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