Mar 222010
 

I have been participating in the weekly Twitter discussion, #edchat, since August 2009.  It has been amazing watching the conversation grow and expand, pulling more and more people into the conversation. The topics range from educational technology to best practices in education and schools.  Many times the conversation is heated, often it is inspiring and it is ALWAYS fast-paced.

Many nights I have found my thoughts challenged, or had my beliefs validated. I have learned what it may be like to teach in other parts of the country and the world. I have learned that many of the struggles that I face here in Philadelphia are not isolated to my school or my district. I have also learned that perspectives are very different depending on many factors such as what state, suburb, city or rural town you teach in, whether you teach in a private school, public school, charter school, high school, elementary school or in higher education as well as many others.

Sometimes we get caught up in our own bubble, and #edchat has helped burst that bubble.

That said, there are those who feel that #edchat is a group of educators “preaching to the choir,” that it is merely a gathering of like-minded people agreeing with each other and not making any real ‘change’ in education.

However, I have found that certain #edchat discussions have forced me to think and/or rethink how I teach, what I teach or a belief that I hold. While I may not go back to my classroom and immediately implement something from the night before, my goals and approach to teaching has been influenced by the conversations I’ve had with others from around the country and the world.

How has #edchat made ‘real changes’ for you in your classroom, your school, your district or your professional life? 

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Please leave a comment below.  I am collecting ideas to share as part of the Real Time Communication and Education panel at the #140 Characters Conference in NYC on April 20th.

  17 Responses to “#edchat: Making Real Changes”

  1. Yes, there are times when #edchat feels like an echo chamber, but I have been equally challenged. If I'm not challenged, I'm at least forced to think through my own thoughts and why I think how I do. I leave each #edchat either clarified in my beliefs or more often unable to sleep as I process and rethink everything related to my classroom.

    #edchat has given me ideas and directions for my classroom. New technology, apps, websites, etc. that have engaged my students more. I have learn new philosophies and perspectives that have made my classroom more student-centered and student-friendly. Just as important is the encouragement I receive AFTER #edchat from new friends who always just the right thing when I want to throw in the towel.

    Yes, #edchat has changed the way I teach.

  2. #edchat is valuable to me because I am able to publish incomplete thoughts and used the back and forth of #edchat to help develop those thoughts. In that way, it has been something of a sandbox for me in that those things that I am struggling with can often be more fully developed by the time #edchat is done (which is usually too quickly).

  3. "Preaching to the choir" can sometimes be frustrating, but before taking part in #edchat and building a PLN I was much more frustrated. It is a comfort to know that there are so many talented, passionate, progressive educators who will push back on policies and practices that are not good for students.

    For our school, I would like to think that we have become or are continuing to move towards a true collaborative environment where there is (to quote Chris Lehmann) "top-down support for bottom-up ideas." I think that some of our teachers have also found a place to discuss ideas that they would not normally discuss with their colleagues. There is without a doubt a ripple effect occurring that I am optimistic that will build into something greater.

    For me professionally, I have gone to far fewer conferences and workshops that are run by our state administrators association because of the fact that I get so much more value from participating in #edchat and my PLN.

    The things that have happened for our school due to #edchat and the connections that have been made through this network have us working on a number of initiatives that would have been much further off in the future are: a new teacher-directed PD model, 1:1 computing, and a more collaborative decision-making process.

    I guess the only thing I struggle with is a very often-repeated question. How come so many bright educators have not made the move to participate in this conversation?

  4. I'm very new to #edchat more just lurking reading, and filtering.. I find the whole discussion very rich with ideas some of which have helped me greatly!

  5. After reflect ing on it for a while, I have come to the con­clusion that nothing has has a more profound impact on my development as an edu ca tor this year than my par­ticipation in #edchat (if you don’t know about #edchat click here and check it out). Although the chats them selves are quite stimu­lating, the more important thing to me has been the connections and rela­tion ships that have devel oped as a result of my participation. These rela­tion ships display what is best about Web 2.0 technologies, like minded peo ple who share common pas sions are able to work together regard less of proximity. A few weeks ago I was able to act as a judge for a poetry con test (click here to see the winner of that contest) at a high school in Burling ton, Mass. through an online inter ac tion I had with Patrick Larkin (@bhsprincipal), in early June I will be mak ing a pre sen ta tion at a Teach Meet in Nashville, TN because of a con nec tion that I made with Jason Bedell (@jasontbedell). I never would have been able to do these things had I not met these people, and I never would have met these people with out the #edchat conversation.

  6. I join in #edchat for very similar reasons as you and the others in comments.

    There are days when I am so frustrated (to quote Mugatu from Zoolander, "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!") with people who are close-minded and not willing to enter an intelligent discussion. It's nice to know that there are other educators around the world who are willing to stick out their necks and emblazon a new trail.

    On the other hand, quite a few people in #edchat have challenged my thinking… and either helped me to provide more evidence to debate my point or helped me to step back and examine my thoughts. #edchat helps me learn!

    I'm very opinionated, but also very passionate about education. #edchat brings us into a forum with those who just want a voice. Many times, they are stuck in situations where they have no voice…

    Last point: I'm a person of words (sometimes, too many!), but also a person of action. I feel that WE are the ones to help create the change we envision. We know what's best for our students, our teachers, our administrators, our communities- and we can't take action if we remain silent.

    Great post! Thanks for the opportunity!

  7. Coming from a small town in NB, Canada I enjoy being validated that my thoughts, beliefs and struggles are somewhat the same as those in big town USA. I find it interesting that despite the distance and our population we have pretty much the same technology and are working towards similar goals (PLC etc). It has also allowed me insight into what other schools are doing to solve problems or move forward.

    Thanks #edchat

  8. Have had 3 attempts at posting a comment. Why does blogger make it so hard?!

    So now I'll just say see response in my own post ttp://bit.ly/9BePFj

    And add that it's not preaching to the choir, it's giving the choir plenty of opportunity to sing together, so that they go away and confidently sing solo to a wider audience too.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.

  9. I am pretty new to #edchat, but I have to say that I am inspired by the comments and the resources that are shared. Several teachers in my school district are so engrossed in the "canned curriculum" that they are oftentimes reluctant to think outside the box or to try something new. I can come to #edchat and find like-minded teachers that I can collaborate with and can encourage me in my journey to becoming a better educator.

  10. Even if #edchat is filled with many educators like me, it is also filled with many educators UNLIKE me. There is diversity in the comments. The ideas of others challenge me and make me think. Also, #edchat reminds me that there are other teachers out there who are struggling with the same problems that I am. I value my PLN and my #edchat.

  11. #edchat has become the most concentrated way for me to discuss and learn new ideas each week. As others have stated it is also a great way to build connections with many connected educators. It's a world-wide water cooler.

  12. Not only am I thankful for the wonderful connections I have made through Twitter, but #edchat alone has taught me so much this year. My area of expertise is educational technology, and when the #edchat topic is technology focused I will admit I feel much more in my comfort zone. But I am also excited for topics that aren't technology focused, because I know I'm guaranteed to learn something new.

    I would have to agree with Matt that it does seem like an echo chamber at times, but it's a motivational echo chamber at least. It reminds me why I'm in education and it makes me want to be better at my job.

    It's frustrating to read comments from the "haters" and others that gripe about #edchat not being of substance. Yet it's funny those people know exactly when #edchat takes place on Tuesdays, but sadly they never participate.

  13. #edchat has given me countless riches in contacts with wonderful people who are now part of my pln, riches in resources that I never knew existed, and riches in finding that I'm not alone. There are people out there like me and better than me from whom I can learn! I've started blogging about education topics and I've even gotten comments from educators in my pln. I've even completely changed the way I grade my students by eliminating grades altogether! That's the power of #edchat!

  14. An additional benefit of #edchat that is often overlooked is the number of blogs it affects on a weekly basis. Many EDUBloggers use the topics or responses of edchat to expand their thoughts on given topics. It takes the subject matter beyond the 140 Character limitations of tweets. This post is a prime example of the Edchat Effect.
    Thanks for your support and contribution to Edchat.

  15. This is great!!! I can't wait to discuss this on our panel.

  16. What wonderful comments everyone! I'm so glad that our community has provided so much support for each other over the past 6 or so months!

  17. Sorry that you had so much trouble commenting! I switched to Intense Debate because it allows for nested replies.

    Thanks for sharing your post. I, too, had the same initial reaction to Twitter at first. It is now, as you stated, one of the most important professional networks and resources I have!

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