Said no one ever.
Here's a little challenge. Have your students start typing in the URL, letter by letter, slash by tedious slash, to this website:
Now sit back and gaze at their bewildered faces while you giggle wickedly.
My colleagues (Shelly Stanton and Traci Piltz) and I have been obsessed with a new tool lately: Participate Learning! Formerly appoLearning (a service in which teachers and education experts could vet out iOS apps), Participate has expanded its horizons far beyond just apps. It does a couple of REALLY COOL things that, IMHO, all teachers need to know about!
My colleagues and I have been wanting to present our district with a staff-wide Twitter challenge. With approximately 3500 staff members, this would be an excellent means of communication about topics like classroom management, technology integration, project-based learning, and digital literacy; everyone from kindergarten teachers to high school instructional aides - even board members and parents could join in to find out what's happening in classrooms across the district.
While that dream is fast approaching, we are practicing with smaller professional development groups like the Billings Tech Cadre. In preparation for our meeting with them this weekend, I created a handy reference to introduce participants to the tools, abbreviations, and lingo that will [hopefully] help them successfully participate in an edchat.
**and yes, "CHEET" is purposely misspelled. If it bothers you, let me know and I'll decide whether or not I'm going to change it!
Download a printable copy:
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!