Sunday, April 24, 2016

Live Chat Blog Post Reflection

Here is a picture of the live tweet I participated in with Pat Paquet this Thursday, April 21st, 2016.  #whatisschool is just one of *many* live tweets educators can follow online and participate in the conversation.   

Tonight I participated in my first live tweet for my PBE (Proficiency-Based Education) class, EDU 568, Communication Tools for Teaching.  I had participated in live tweets in the past--primarily, for favorite TV shows--but never participated in conversations about classroom instruction or teaching experiences.

My response?

It was great!

Along with Pat Paquet, Vinalhaven School's fifth grade teacher, we followed the live tweet, #whatisschool using the hashtag, #UMFEDU568.  I was surprised by the relatively easy structure of the conversation that took place with other educators, and I was impressed by how well it actually went.  Because we had a focused moderator (@mrkempnz), the questions were posed at consistent intervals and everyone jumped in with answers in real-time.  In fact, I made some surprising connections with other educators: one, a high school history teacher named Tim who uses comic books in his classroom.  You can read his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.

Here are my specific responses to questions for my class, Communication Tools for Teaching at the University of Maine at Farmington: 

1. Would you participate in Twitter chats in the future as part of your professional learning?
Absolutely! In just one Twitter chat with other teachers, I connected with at least 10 new educators, discovered two blogs to use in my teaching, and became more comfortable with tweeting as a whole.  I would absolutely do it again.

2. How could you use Twitter chats in your classroom?
I'm not sure how I could use Twitter chats in my classroom per se, but I hope more experiences with this communication style will give me a clearer idea of its benefits for formative instruction.  If my students would take tweeting seriously, I could easily see setting up a live Twitter chat at some point to supplement classroom discussion.

3. What questions were you able to answer from this Twitter chat?
I was definitely able to better understand how live chats work for educational and professional purposes.  Before, I thought live chats were all about "instant responses" to something you watched on TV.  Now, I understand that they can be moderated into a focused discussion with someone leading the chat and twitter followers responding.

4. What questions do you still have after this Twitter chat?
I'm still questioning how to implement Twitter chats as part of my classroom instruction.  While I know I can explain the task of a Twitter chat and the expectations of each student, I don't know if I can clearly communicate how students should participate in a Twitter chat that is also a serious discussion.  Does anyone else have thoughts on how teachers can encourage this kind of transference between the classroom and social media (a place which is usually not an academic setting)?

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