How do you connect people who are passionate about teaching and learning across a big institution like MSU? Common, now, across the educational landscape are Twitter EdChats linking people across roles and interests who want to talk about teaching and learning, share resources, and crowdsource ideas for their classrooms. So, we recently launched #iteachmsu: a Twitter Edchat for MSU co-sponsored by Inside Teaching MSU, The Graduate School, and The MSU Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology. In this post, we’ll further discuss what EdChats are, what the #iteachmsu EdChat is, share highlights from our first #iteachmsu EdChat, and share ways you can get further involved with #iteachmsu.
What is an EdChat?
Edchats are based around a set of questions that participants respond to via Twitter usually over the course of an hour. Questions come at about 5-10 minute intervals and are focused on creating discussion around a common theme. They quickly link people, ideas, and dialogue in a short period of time, and provide a hashtag for folks to gather around in-between chats. We purposely focused this first #iteachmsu Edchat on building teaching and learning communities and left it open and flexible to allow for new ideas and dialogue to naturally occur. Questions ranged from asking participants what communities across campus they were a part of, what issues in teaching and learning they cared most about, and what they hoped #iteachmsu could accomplish.
What is the #iteachmsu EdChat?
Oftentimes, Edchats are only in digital spaces and contribute to the building of one’s personal learning network (PLN) for personal and professional growth. Because we hope that #iteachmsu will bring in both folks familiar to social media, Twitter, and Edchats, and folks who were less familiar (approximately half of the people who were present had never participated in an Edchat before), we also hosted a connected in-person Tweetup (meeting of people in-person as they tweeted) with some connected orientation about the EdChat. We shared the questions ahead of time, the overall format, provided suggestions for how to participate, and even “gamified” the tweetup, offering T-shirts to the folks who had the most original tweets, most retweets, and most favorites. At that point, it was on!
There were a lot of “firsts” across the chat: first time participating in an EdChat, first time ever tweeting, first introductions between folks who work across MSU, and first foundations of future collaborations across MSU.
What did we learn at our first #iteachmsu Edchat?
Participants shared a variety of responses to the Edchat questions. But, overall, the chat showed:
- The passion for teaching and learning across the MSU community (we had people who were administrators, faculty, staff, and TAs participating).
- A collective focus and individual ways that people were addressing student success and equity & inclusion at MSU.
- That people wanted to continue #iteachmsu and want to focus on a variety of potential themes: mapping and further building the network, sharing and crowdsourcing classroom strategies, and further making visible and valuable the teaching and learning that happens across MSU.
What’s next for #iteachmsu?
The next #iteachmsu chat will take place in January (stay tuned for details). We are currently deciding on the topic based on what participants in the first chat suggested. We hope to see you there. It is a great opportunity to expand your PLN and connect with others across campus.
What can you do before the next #iteachmsu EdChat?
We have a month before the next chat. But In the meantime, there are plenty of ways that you can still be involved. Start off by making sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. And we challenge you, sometime over the next month to use “#iteachmsu” on Twitter and:
- Take a Picture: A picture can be easy to share and captures attention. It is also often worth more than 140 characters on Twitter! You can take pictures in your classroom, at work on teaching and learning, or at teaching and learning events. * Example:
- #iteachmsu and I’m wrapping up the semester!
- Starting to design this for next semester! #iteachmsu
- Share an Idea/Resource: What new methods are you trying out! What do you think would be helpful for your teaching colleagues? Share that with our network! Example:
- Just tried out [teaching method] and it worked! Details here: [link] #iteachmsu
- Here are some helpful resources for building inclusive classrooms from day one. #iteachmsu [link]
- Pose a Question: Asking questions of a network passionate about teaching is very practical. Crowdsource your challenges and request teaching and learning resources! Part of being in a network is helping each other. Example:
- Anyone have ideas for more efficient feedback? #iteachmsu
- Wanting to try out class discussion. Any ideas? #iteachmsu
- Celebrate: What are you excited about! Did you have a great day of teaching and learning and just want to celebrate with a larger network who is just as passionate as you are? We’d love to celebrate with you!
- Love teaching! #iteachmsu
- So excited for what we’re building for next semester! #iteachmsu
*We’re excited for you to share with us! But please remember to not share pics or details related to specific students or pictures of people without their permission.
Want to learn more about Twitter, Edchats, and PLNs?
Here are some additional resources to become more familiar with Twitter:
- Getting Started with Twitter [guide]
- Anatomy of a Tweet [infographic]
- Tutorial on navigating EdChats [video]
- Building your Personal Learning Network (PLN) [blog]
- The [Storify of the #iteachmsu chat] where you can get a recap of the whole experience
Erik Skogsberg is a PhD Candidate in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education (CITE) at MSU. His current research focuses on early career teacher development toward the inclusion of youth and community literacies, digital literacies, and culturally sustaining pedagogies. In his current role as the Teacher Learning Designer in MSU’s HUB for Innovation in Learning and Technology and the MSU Graduate School, he supports graduate teaching assistant (TA) professional development across campus. Follow him on Twitter: @erikskogs.
Sarah Gretter is a PhD Candidate in Educational Psychology & Educational Technology at MSU. Her research focuses on Media & information literacy. Specifically, she is interested in the competencies that educators should acquire to successfully help students understand the functions of online media and information in our digital lives. She is also interested in student acquisition of 21st century digital skills, including media & information literacy, computational thinking, and online citizenship. Follow her on Twitter: @SarahGretter and check out her website: www.sarahgretter.