Sunday night I had the great opportunity to join special guest Dr. Brad Buck, Director of Education in Iowa, along with the group leading Iowa ed chat (#iaedchat). Iowa ed chat was launched not too long ago by Jimmy Casas, Aaron Becker, and Matt Degner. This group hosts virtual conversations each Sunday night at 8:00 CST on Twitter (#iaedchat), and once a month the group broadcasts google hangout sessions with special guests. You can find previous chats here, as well as Sunday’s google hangout session with Dr. Buck and myself at this link.
These types of Twitter chats are obviously becoming more and more common, as evidenced by this list of educational chats. As I work with educators across the globe, I always encourage them to get connected with other educators. Although Twitter isn’t the only network I recommend, I believe it is an extremely powerful one. The challenge that I often experience is that individuals not comfortable with technology view Twitter and other social networks as simply a place for technophiles — people with a strong enthusiasm for technology. They believe that those social networks exist as a place for tech junkies to discuss technology. The Iowa Ed chat and many others prove that is not true. They focus on a variety of topics such as leadership, exceptional students, student discipline, and other pertinent topics. Their topics are broad and appropriate for educators across the globe. Their work also aligns with a recent study I conducted with Dr. Jayson Richardson. In that study, we analyzed how school leaders were using Twitter. We found that most tweets were not about technology, but rather other educational topics. Additionally, we identified that the overwhelming majority of tweets (84%) were either directed at other individuals (@) or part of a chat (#). These findings as well as anecdotal evidence demonstrate that Twitter is an extremely powerful place for individuals to collaborate and have virtual conversations about an assortment of conversations that aren’t necessarily related to technology. I applaud my Iowa friends for creating such an environment, and look forward to many great conversations in the future!