Pioneering educators have created the way to collaborate and share with their colleagues online: the Twitter edchat. Edchats can take many forms, but most have a specific time and follow a Q&A format for dialogue. The are open, dynamic, fun and a great way to build a PLN.
Why do you need a #breakoutchat?
While Twitter edchats are open, they aren't necessarily inclusive. And the pace and format isn't suited for deeper discussion. As a result, participants have typically continued the dialogue outside the chat using various forms of direct communication, and more recently, through tools like Voxer. Now, there is an emerging new way to do this, the safer edchat.
What is a safer edchat?
Safer edchats follow the same Q&A format, but take place off Twitter on a platform like Recap. Moderators have improved ways to introduce topics and link to supporting resources. There are privacy tools that help promote deeper dialogue and the development of new understanding. They are done asynchronously, so participants get more space and choice in how to respond. And they get to explain their thinking through extended chat tools and video responses.
8 Reasons to break out after your Twitter edchat
- Some Topics Need Privacy: Many topics in education require privacy for participants to feel safe enough to discuss them freely and be open to developing new understanding.
- More Detailed Responses Required: There is only so much you can explain in 140 characters (or even 280!). Important dialogue simply requires more space to explain your thinking.
- Text-Only Can be Misinterpreted: Writing can be misinterpreted, especially in a chat format. Sometimes you need a way to explain your thoughts with more context to develop a shared understanding.
- Allow for More Exploration: Developing new understanding of complex issues requires more than comments. It requires the introduction of new ideas and content, and consideration of different questions as the dialogue develops.
- Better Archiving: Once you’ve invested the time and energy to discuss a topic deeply, you need an an easier way to review the discussion and associated resources than what is available.
- Teachers Have Time Conflicts: The number one reason most teachers cite for missing existing #edchats is time conflicts. Doing asynchronous chats opens this valuable exercise up to new participants.
- Include Teachers Who Opt Out of Twitter: Most teachers are simply not on Twitter. And many have no interest in joining. Their voice needs to be included in the discussion.
- Include Students Voice in edchats: True student voice means involving students in the discussion teachers are having about teaching and learning, not creating separate spaces for their own discussions.