Sunday, 19 May 2019

Collaborative conversations

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!

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