As part of a grant for my student publication staff, I am attending a workshop with other Oklahoma J-pub advisers this week. Even considering all that we are learning, all the notes and PowerPoint presentations we get to take back with us, my favorite part of workshops such as these is collaborating with peers. Everyone has a story to illustrate almost any scenario imaginable, and we love hearing each other tell these stories. We share ideas for lesson plans, workflow, staff management, software and apps.

On the topic of social media today, we asked questions, helped each other understand the interrelation of the different social media outlets and how each could benefit our publications. Though we went deeply into how journalists can and should use Twitter to promote the publication, find sources, crowdsource for more information and market other aspects of the school’s media, there is one more aspect of Twitter I think my adviser friends – and education peers of all subject areas – should know more about, and that is the power of Twitter chats.

I pretty much used the learn-by-doing method of Twitter training, and stumbled on my first Twitter chat by accident one Saturday morning. Noticing many tweets with the hashtag #satchat, I got curious and clicked on one. Therein I entered a parallel universe where everyone was a passionate educator sharing thoughts, ideas, blog posts, images, and more in tweets in real time. I followed the conversation as the proverbial fly on the wall.

I discovered that many such chats existed, and that @cybraryman1 had an entire page full of mostly active hashtags for tweetchats. He and other educators have posted schedules of exactly when and how often each chat happens. I’ve since discovered #ELAchat (English/Language Arts) #tlap (from Dave Burgess’s Teach Like a Pirate), #sbgchat (standards based grading) and many more. Each one is attended by dozens of idea-filled, passionate teachers and administrators.

One day I questioned another journalism adviser about why there wasn’t one for us, and you could almost see the radiance here in Oklahoma from the lightbulb over her head in New York. We agreed to co-moderate, deciding on every other Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT and began building a list of topics. @mssackstein researched other chat policies and developed one for us, which she shared with me on a Google Doc.

We’ve been carrying on these chats with other journalism advisers we both follow and who follow us since March, and they have been awesome. We have covered choosing and developing leaders, managing deadlines, grading and financial support, among other topics.

We’d love to see #jerdchat continue to grow. Journalism teachers new to Twitter, or just new to tweetchats need only put the next chat on their calendar – Aug. 1, 7 p.m. CT, then search the hashtag #jerdchat. The topic will be journalism movies. Got your own favorites? The Aug. 15 chat will be guest moderated by @evelynalauer and it’s all about social media and publications.

If you want to lurk for a while before you feel comfortable tweeting, that’s fine, but chances are that like we eight advisers sitting around the long table in Gaylord Hall, you just won’t be able to resist sharing your great ideas.


About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

One Response to Connectivity

  1. Pingback: #Jerdchat gets its own blog | teachjournalism

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