I know, I know. "I don't have time." "It's too overwhelming." "I don't do the Twitter." Yea, yea. I get that. And I said all of the same things. But then I found Montana Ed Chat.
What is an Ed Chat, you wonder? It's basically a conversation that takes place on Twitter, using a hashtag to gather everyone together, and a moderator to organize the questions and answers. The first time I logged in to my Twitter account on a Tuesday night at 8 pm and searched "#MTedchat," I was instantly freaked out by what I saw. People's questions, answers, comments, and observations went flying across my screen at a speed SO fast... well, let's just say it was tough to keep up! By about the 45-minute mark, I was finally starting to get the hang of it. The moderator would pose a question that looked something like this:
Totally made that up - I probably wouldn't have lasted 45 minutes in a chat like that. BUT, the idea was that there was a question, followed by the hashtag, and people were responding - like this:
Totally made that up, too. It was at about this time, though, that I found I had something to say in response the question! So I started typing my answer. And just like that, I was in. I was met with a flurry of responses (which overwhelmed me again!), and I instantly found myself conversing with people all over the state and beyond!
In the year or so that has passed since my first edchat, I have hardly missed a week. I have come to think of my MTedchat colleagues as my peers - they are now part of my Professional Learning Network (PLN), and I have since "gone" to other states' chats to find out what they're talking about, too. I have learned SO MUCH, and found out about so many resources that I never would have known about otherwise!
And so tonight was another first for me: moderating the chat. It was SO fun being on the other end of the conversation, and watching people chime in with their ideas, thoughts, resources, and questions!
Below is a Storify, essentially a play-by-play transcript of tonight's chat, compiled automagically by Jessica Anderson (MTedchat co-founder AND 2016 Montana Teacher of the Year!). Read through it and learn, and if you're anything like me, you'll want to come back for more.
"See" you next Tuesday night at 8 pm Mountain time!
I have been in several classrooms and staff meetings lately where these 5 words have come up over and over again. "HOW ARE YOU DOING THAT?!"
First, in context, I'd like to address the particular question itself. What I'm doing is zooming in on a portion of my screen, using the accessibility features of my Mac. How I'm doing it is this:
To use this feature, all you need to do now is press and hold your modifier key, then scroll with two fingers to zoom in. You can move your mouse around to different parts of the screen, and if you remove your fingers, your screen will stay zoomed in. This is great when displaying a join code for Google Classroom or Nearpod, for example, or when displaying a URL for students or colleagues during a presentation. To zoom back out, simply hold the modifier key again while you use two fingers to scroll back out.
Now to think of this question on more of a meta level. I LOVE it when someone, whether student, colleague, or conference attendee, shouts out to me, "How are you DOING THAT?!" For one thing, it tells me they're engaged. For another, thing, it tells me that they want to use whatever I'm doing themselves and are just dying to know how. But mainly, it tells me that there are things I'm taking for granted... things I know, that seems super-obvious to me, that other people just don't know. It grounds me and helps me think, "What else am I not telling them?"
This has opened my mind to so many new ideas. From lessons I could teach to model Google tools in classrooms, to presentations I could share at conferences; from hardware demonstrations at staff meetings, to helping students create their own websites. Questions are what drive me to want to learn more myself, and I find myself looking around for people to whom I can shout, "How are you DOING THAT?!"
So here's the advice: do you have a question for someone? Ask them! How are you finding time to blog every day? How are you using your Osmo in your classroom? How are you using Google Forms to assess your students? How are zooming in on that part of your screen? How are you losing weight?! How are you DOING THAT?!