When I was a classroom teacher taking professional development (PD) classes, I remember feeling trapped in a room with my coworkers, listening to yet another lecture on how to teach better using a strategy that didn’t always apply to my classroom (the result of one-size-fits-all PD). While some sessions were helpful and engaging, many weren’t.
The good news is that many teachers are taking PD into their own hands through Twitter. Teachers are using the social media platform to connect via “edchats,” live Twitter events where teachers discuss an area of education, mentor or are mentored by other teachers, and share resources using the same hashtag. Any teacher with a Twitter account can start an edchat, enabling teacher discussions over shared content areas, grade levels, districts, or interests. Popular edchats include #edchat, #edtechchat, and #ecet2.
Edchats help teachers stay up to date on current trends in education and connect to other educators around the world who can offer immediate advice. For example, if a teacher is struggling with classroom procedures, he can tweet using the edchat’s hashtag and quickly receive numerous responses. That’s a pretty powerful support network!
Here at Mobility Labs, we love building these types of tools for teachers. When we started working on ChatWisdom, a web app that organizes Twitter chat data, we knew it was crucial to understand the needs and obstacles of teachers. Throughout the product development process, we got valuable feedback from a group of passionate, dedicated educators. (A big thanks to Brad Clark [@notbradclark)], Chris Bronke [@mrbronke], and the other teachers and organizations for their ongoing feedback and enthusiasm for ChatWisdom!)
Our feedback sessions had a similar theme: We heard over and over that teachers didn’t have enough time to analyze the data from edchats or act on it because they had too many other things to do. Mobility Labs was determined to solve that problem with ChatWisdom.
ChatWisdom organizes chat data in one place, making it easier for moderators to strategically grow their chats and connect to other teachers. But we’re not done improving it. Soon, we’ll be adding moderator accounts, better filtering capabilities to meet the needs of diverse users, and other new features. We’re very excited to see what the future holds for ChatWisdom as more teachers use it and continue to provide their feedback, which we’ll use to develop new features.
So check out ChatWisdom, and drop us a line to let us know what you think!