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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.
General education chats
#BuildHOPEedu (Sundays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET)
Building hope in schools.
#CrazyPLN (Saturdays, 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET)
All about student empowerment.
#CultureEd (Tuesdays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET)
Hosted by Matthew X. Joseph on creating a positive culture in education.
#edchat (Tuesdays/Thursdays, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET)
One of the first education chats, this popular chat has nine moderators and covers a broad range of topics. Find upcoming topics and read archived chats at edchat.pbworks.com.
#Masterychat (Thursdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
The Teach Better Team on growing the practice of teaching.
#nt2t (Saturdays, 6 a.m. PT/9 a.m. ET)
For educators who are new to Twitter.
#OK2Ask (every other Thursday, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Friendly chat with lots of classroom resources shared.
#PLN365 (Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET)
Variety of topics led by educators.
#resiliencechat (Mondays, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET)
Hosted by Sara Truebridge on building resiliency.
#satchat (Saturdays, 4:30 a.m. PT/7:30 a.m. ET)
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.).
#teachpos (Sundays, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET)
PD on teaching positively.
Job role chats
#1stchat (Sunday, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Chat about first grade teaching.
#aplitchat (first and fourth Sundays of the month, 6 p.m.PT/9 p.m. ET)
For all English teachers (not just AP Literature teachers).
#kinderchat (Mondays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET)
For anyone interested in kindergarten and early-childhood education.
#mschat (Thursdays at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
For middle school teachers.
#isteTEN (Wednesdays, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET)
For teacher educators.
#iteachphysics (Saturdays, 6 a.m. PT/ 9 a.m. ET)
Bi-weekly chat for physics teachers.
#sschat (Mondays, 4 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. ET)
For social studies educators.
#AppleEDUchat (Tuesdays, noon and 6 p.m. PT/3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET)
For educators who use apple products.
#ARVRinEDU (Wednesdays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m.ET)
Discussion about augmented and virtual reality in education.
#Bookcamppd (Sundays, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET)
Calendar of chats about books for educators.
#digcit (First Wednesday of the month, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET)
Focuses on digital citizenship.
#ditchbook (Thursdays, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET)
On integrating technology into your teaching.
#EdTechChat (Mondays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Focuses on topics related to edtech.
#FlipClass (Mondays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
For those interested in the flipped classroom model.
#formativechat (Mondays, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET)
Discussion of topics related to formative assessment, from giving effective feedback to giving students more ownership of their learning.
#Games4Ed (Thursdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET; Sundays, noon PT/3 p.m. ET)
For those interested in game-based learning and gamification.
#LearnLAP (Mondays, 5 p.m, PT/ 8 p.m. ET)
Focuses on strategies for creating a student-led classroom.
#MakeEdReal (Mondays, 6:30 PT/9:30 ET)
All about student engagement.
#pblchat (Tuesdays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET)
For project-based learning fans.
#PersonalizedPD (Tuesdays, 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET)
For those interested in customizing professional development to meet the needs of each educator.
#Read4fun (Every other Sunday, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET)
Connects passionate educators with books, and with each other.
#rethink_learning (Every other Monday, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET)
Innovative ideas for empowering learners.
#TLAP (Mondays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET)
For educators who embrace David Burgess’ approach of teaching like a pirate.
#UDLchat (First and third Wednesdays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET)
Educators making learning more inclusive and supportive for every single learner.
#whatisschool (Thursdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Educators discuss shaping the future of school.
#XPLAP (Tuesdays, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET)
Based on Explore Like a Pirate, chat focuses on gamification.
#UrbanEdChat (Thursdays, 7 p.m. PT/ 10 p.m. ET)
For educators who want to discuss urban education.
#bcedchat (Sunday, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET)
For educators in the British Columbia area. Find a list of archived chats on the website.
#CAedchat (Sundays, 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET)
California educators discuss education topics relevant to the West Coast.
#MEMSPAchat (Thursdays at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET
Chat for Michigan principals, administrators and lead educators.
#NCed (Tuesdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
For North Carolina educators.
#PAECTChat (Second Thursday each month, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
PA Association for Educational Communications and Technology (PAECT). Everyone everywhere is welcome to join.
#UTedChat (Wednesdays, 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET)
Focuses on education topics relevant to Utah and the general education landscape.
Jennifer Snelling is an education blogger based in Eugene, Oregon, who explores how technology enriches and enhances learning.
This post is an updated version of an article originally published on May 19, 2015.