• Megan Snedeker

Using Twitter Chats to Grow Your #PLN

Updated: Sep 13, 2018

Recently, I got the experience of participating in my first Twitter Chat with #DitchBook over on tchat.io. It was a great experience, and I thought I'd share my story here for other teachers and pre-service educators interested in trying one out.

A Twitter Chat is a hosted even between groups of people on Twitter where you can have real conversations about things that matter to you with real people in your field.

These chats are done using hashtags and typically arranged in more of a Question and Answer format, with the hosts of the chat asking a question that the rest of the participants get to discuss.

Educators love Twitter Chats and have a ton for all kinds of educators, with a much more extensive list here.

All of the chats are very friendly, and typically begin with introductions. You can partake in these chats through Twitter if you'd like, or you can use tchat.io to make it much easier to follow the conversation.

This past Thursday evening, I chose to join the #DitchBook Twitter Chat. Their chat is all about incorporating more tech into the classroom and finding resources to get kids online and out of their old, physical books.

This week's Twitter Chat was all about Digital Citizenship and how to help out students become better Digital Citizens, as well as what that means to me.

Each week Ditch That Textbook hosts another half-hour Twitter Chat on a new topic, like next week will be all about blogging.

As I mentioned earlier, these chats are set up in more of a Q&A format, and the night began with some introductions, and then the first question.

What is Digital Citizenship? This caught me off-guard, considering I had no idea what the chat would be about prior to joining. It's not something I think about too often, so it took me awhile to form some kind of answer. What I found particularly useful about being involved in this Twitter Chat was being able to see everyone else's response. As far as I could tell during the introductory phase, I was the only pre-service educator joining the chat, which meant it was filled with teachers who have a lot of experience in their field and a lot of great thoughts on topics like these.

Not knowing what I thought Digital Citizenship was didn't stop me, though, and I was fairly quick to jump into the conversation!

When we hit "Question 2: Share you favorite digital citizenship resources, lessons, quotes, activities, and ideas", I was stumped. I didn't have things like these ready to go, so I decided the best thing I could do to grow my teaching toolbox was to sit back and just listen.

That's the beauty of these Twitter Chats, you can participate as much or as little as you want. It means it can be really helpful to jump into a conversation about something you're unfamiliar with and just watch the rest of the group discuss to learn some ideas, jumping in where you can.

Question 3 was an exciting one for me: "How can we make digital citizenship a part of our daily routine and not just a one off lesson or unit?". That's a big theme for the sort of technology-based teacher I want to be; I want everything to have a purpose and to be a continuing part of our classroom.

And finally, we reached the final question of the night.

Question 4: "How important is digital citizenship to our students' future?"

This was a great question in the chat with a lot of amazing answers.

While I, personally, didn't feel like I added a whole lot to the general conversation, I did get amazing resources out of it that I'm incredibly grateful for. All of which I was sure to send over to my amazing #edtechminor.

Overall, I loved my experience with my first Twitter Chat, and look forward to doing one again soon. I think their an incredibly useful tool for teachers, and there's a Chat out there for everyone.

Do you use Twitter Chats or are you thinking of starting? Share your experiences with them down below!

Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to leave your thoughts!


Interested in staying a part of the conversation? Find me over on Twitter to see when I'm next participating in a Twitter Chat!

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