I have been moderating Middle School Chat now for a year and a half. The chat has re-energized my teaching career. I look forward to each Thursday night chat with so much anticipation. Wonder who will bring hot new ideas into the discussion? What ideas can I bring back to my classroom to enhance my students’ learning? I have been amazed at the incredible educators that join in each week.
In a recent conversation with a teaching colleague, I was challenged about the power of twitter chats. His argument was that twitter is just a echo-chamber where like minded teachers validate their common thinking. Disagreeing with this premise, I shared all the ways my teaching has changed since starting the chat. I was meet with a quick rebuttal, “Todd you like change and doing new things just like all the other teachers on Twitter. Most of us just want to teach like we were taught to do.” Having taught with this colleague for my entire career I knew he was right about me. I do like change. I do like trying new things, figuring it out and learning. Not everyone is of the same mindset. How can teachers help other teachers change teaching to meet the changing needs of our students?
After pondering this for a long time, My answer is one teacher at a time. So I am laying down a challenge to all of my #MSchat participants (Inspired by a conversation with my colleague and Colleen Skiles @cskiles80). During the month of February bring a “new” teacher into our chat conversation. Invite them over on a Thursday night, show them how the chat works, introduce them to the concept of twitter chats, and have them lurk while you participate. A twitter chat party if you will. Then debrief with your colleague to hear how their experience went. Finally take the ideas learned from the chat back into your classrooms for your students’ benefit.
I plan on bringing my colleague into the chat and showing him as well as others that it can be so much more than an echo chamber. I will be writing here in my blog how I am trying to help my colleagues see the power of twitter. Not only by saying it to them, but by showing it to them.
Since many #MSchat participants are “chat” addicts like me, this challenge applies to any chat. Hopefully we can help other teachers see the power of collaboration on social media. I just ask that you share your experiences of doing it with me.
Can’t wait to hear about all the “CHAT” parties! We could have one every night of the week!