For educators who thrive on connections, Twitter chats may be the perfect form of professional development. They're free. They focus on just the topic you need. They happen regularly. And they give you access to an instant community, complete with networking opportunities, emotional support and the chance to give back.
Participating in chats even aligns with the ISTE Standards for Educators because they allow you to improve your practice by learning from and with others to explore proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning.
"The collective intelligence of a chat can provide educators with classroom-tested lessons, a variety of perspectives on specific problems or an introduction to emerging technologies," says Daniel Krutka (@dankrutka), who uses Twitter to connect to his students and the rest of the education community. "Chats also offer leaders opportunities to expand their audiences and influence, and they give voice to teachers who might not otherwise have the chance to exercise leadership outside their classrooms or schools."
But with hundreds of ed-related chats, how do you know which ones are worth giving up an hour of your day?
First, pick your angle. Some chats, such as #edchat, tackle a broad range of education issues, while others are based on shared interests in a particular topic, content area, grade level, job type or geographical region. Next, try out a couple that fit your criteria and see which community you feel most at home in.
To get you started, check out this list of 41 education chats curated by the ISTE community, organized by chat type. If you don’t find something for you on this list, check #EDUChatList, which hosts an easy to use list of chats happening each day.
For current and emerging school leaders, #satchat became so popular it spawned two geographically specific offshoot chats: #SatchatWC for West Coasters and #SatchatOC for educators living in Oceania (Indonesia, Polynesia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, etc.).