Submitted by Fiona Beal
Not too long ago I came across an article that posed the question ‘Is Twitter the Driving Force Behind Upcoming Educational Change?’ and that question constantly echoes in my mind. Twitter is an incredible tool for sharing, summarising, communicating, sending quick messages, using a hashtag for conferences and events – the list is endless. Undoubtedly, for the educator Twitter is a must. I, for one, have learned SO MUCH from my Twitter PLN.
So, for this reason we should really welcome the initiative of Arthur Preston, Headmaster at Elkanah House in Cape Town with the TweetChat for the South African Education community on a Monday night from 8:30pm – 9:30pm. Needless to say the chats to date have been very inspiring with the number of educators participating growing in leaps and bounds.
These Twitter chats are not new to education and there are a number of really good ones that happen around the world.
However this is a first for South Africa and something that our country REALLY needs – teachers and educators entering the education conversation and airing their thoughts and feelings, as well as pooling their knowledge…who knows what changes can be effected as a result!
The website is the place to vote for upcoming topics for discussion.
What is #edchatsa?
The following explanation is taken from the website:
“Imagine a weekly gathering of dynamic, innovative and inspiring teachers who engage in lively debate, share resources, offer assistance, challenge paradigms and support each other. Imagine having the opportunity to engage with these teachers in their conversation or simply stop to listen and learn.
Imagine no longer! This gathering happens every Monday evening from 20h30 to 21h30 on Twitter in the form of what is known as a TweetChat. Started in the first week of March 2012, this community of tweeting teachers continues to meet in a virtual setting every week to discuss issues which affect education in South Africa.
During the preceding week, prospective participants can vote on their choice of topic by registering their vote. The vote is quick, simple and anonymous. Voting closes at 19h30 each Monday evening and the chat begins at 20h30 sharp. Participants use the hashtag #edchatsa to keep their tweets in the chat and allow others to follow the conversation.
The chat is moderated to ensure that participants keep on the topic, that there is some continuity throughout the hour and that courtesy and respect is maintained. At times the debate is fierce and a wide variety of opinions is expressed – this makes for lively discussion!
It is important to realise that the #edchatsa conversation continues throughout the week as folks tag relevant tweets with #edchatsa. However it is on a Monday evening that the community gathers for conversation.”
Vote for next week’s topic
Past chats have included a lively discussion on ‘Assessment’, a discussion around ‘Which piece of technology could influence SA education the most’ and a debate entitled ‘Mobile phones in the classroom are a good idea but create more practical problems than solutions’.
This coming Monday night 7th April should be great:
“We will be doing something a little different this coming week – we will be spending the #edchatsa hour sharing resources and ideas. Come along with your list of indispensable websites, journals, books, blogs and be ready to share with the community.”
The site includes a forum for discussion: “The #edchatsa twitter community is full of insightful, committed and innovative thought-leaders in the South African education space. As a member of this community you are invited to submit a blog post on a subject close to your heart as long as it has connection to education. Your post will then be published and will be available on this site for comment by others.
You may want to introduce readers to a particular edtech tool, open debate around a particular topic, challenge paradigms or simply add insight to the #edchatsa topic of the week. You will also be able to point readers to your own blog or social media platforms” (taken from the website).
Join the discussion