In my class you can’t use the word suck, but there’s an edcamp session called Things That Suck that has become VERY popular. It started with Dan Callahan, got bigger with Bill Selak and I’ve had the fortune of running two sessions at edcampOC and edcampSD (yes that’s me hogging the session board).
In a Things That Suck session you put up a topic in education and people move to one side of the room or the other based on whether they think something sucks or not. You can also stay in the middle if you want to be boring aka thoughtful. I like putting up topics that make people go huh? I thought that was something awesome. In fact I had planned on putting up a slide to debate the “Things That Suck” session itself (very meta Theriault) at edcampOC but ran out of time.
Now I had the fortune of running my last session with Karl Lindgren-Streicher. He added a useful and much needed twist. You spent the last minute or two of the topic talking about how you can fix something. I loved this. It made the session SO much more useful as a learning tool.
So I’m going to share with you a topic I put up for debate. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart.
Things That Suck
that’s right…Twitter Chats
But wait Theriault- you are a moderator for #CAedchat. One of the largest state twitter chats in the U.S. and you moderate pretty often. What’s going on here?
Remember there are two sides of a Things That Suck. I LOVE #CAedchat for these reasons:
- My fellow moderators are amazing- I’ve learned so much by working with them. They truly inspire me. Just check out these awesome educators
- We get amazing co-mods who bring in fresh ideas
- We have people from Texas, Mexico, Canada, even the UK join our chat and we get to learn from them.
- It’s a real party. We average about 300-400 teachers in a chat and can have upwards of 3,000 Tweets: ideas, links, pics, videos all shared on ONE topic in ONE hour.
- Getting this many people together who give up a precious hour each Sunday night inspires me and fires me up for the school week.
- For these and many more #caedchat and other chats DO NOT suck and I was always be involved with them.
But here’s why Twitter chats S*#K
TOO BIG TOO FAST: I joined #azedchat the other day. It was a revalation. It was like a nice stroll in a park with some friends. Standing in stark contrast is #CAedchat. I know everyone thinks #satchat or #edchat are the big bad boys in the educational twitter chat sphere, but just try a #CAedchat one Sunday I dare you. It’s like THIS:
Seriously. After a #CAedchat I feel like this:
It’s so bad I actually wrote a blog post on how to best deal with the madness that is #CAedchat We’ve even taken some steps as a moderator team to help with the chaos, but it’s part of what makes it awesome. If you join a #satchat or #caedchat you WILL miss tweets during the chat.
THE ARCHIVE: I have people all the time bug me for the #caedchat archive. I laugh and giggle. It’s sometimes 2,000 tweets. Seriously… you’re going to read all of those? And many of those are RTs, short responses or even just introductions. Speaking of:
INTRODUCTIONS: so every chat we “waste” five precious minutes introducing ourselves even though some people never tweet or say anything you will care to remember. My friend Sean makes it a point to miss the first five minutes of every #CAedchat just to avoid the introductions. Worse, we end up trying to say hi to people and then miss about 80% of the other participants cause there are so many tweets and participants we can’t possibly great them all. We COULD be answering or asking questions, but that’s not polite.
GHOSTING: ghosting is when you show up or leave a party without bugging the host by saying “Hi” or “Bye” it’s AWESOME. But no… here I am DYING trying to keep up with reading and responding to the AVALANCE of tweets and I get one of these tweets show up:
“Sorry everyone for being late, I was cooking steaks for the family on the patio while watching the sunset.” #caedchat
or this one:
“Sorry everyone, I have to leave the chat early for my YOGA class. #caedchat”
Don’t forget to read THOSE in the archive. Please stop doing that in Twitter chats- I know you are trying to be polite, but just stop… please.
MODERATING: now I love being a moderator. Finding a topic, working with others, asking questions. I LOVE asking questions. I even moderated a #caedchat where every question could only be answered BY a question. But ask my wife how she feels about the fact that I moderated three #caedchats in January. Ask my son. We’ve fixed that mostly by coming up with a once a month schedule, but we still have had several #caedchat mods take semi-permanent breaks from the responsibility to find balance in their family life.
Now I’m NOT quitting #caedchat nor am I saying it’s a waste of time. I love #caedchat and #satchatwc I learn so much, but I think there’s room for another method of running an #edchat
So I’m taking Karl’s advice and I’m proposing a solution to some of these problems. I want to slow the chat experience WAY DOWN. In fact that’s what I’m proposing: a slow chat, more specifically
So here’s how it’s going to work.
On the #slowchatED blog there will be a few Google Forms. This form will collect, or crowd-source possible questions, topics, and moderators for #slowchatED
A different person will moderate each week. ANYONE involved in education can apply to moderate. You could do it once a year or once every two years. This is a community edchat it does not belong to me, it is not my project it is OUR project. I’m just asking people try it out. Once you are chosen to moderate a chat for the week I will make you an editor on this site so you can write and post the summary blog post. You will continue to have editing privileges for as long as you want. If you would like to become a person who vets the moderators please let me know.
There will be no FB, G+, Pinterest, NO #slowchatED Twitter account (egads) or anything else, just a simple blog that will be the learning engine behind #slowchatED This is not about promotion, just learning.
The chat is not limited to one day or one time slot so it becomes open to EVERYONE everywhere.
On Monday the chat starts. Several times during the day the same question will be tweeted out. There is no hurry to respond. You can think about it for several hours, you can find a blog post and link or just the right video, heck you could WRITE a blog post or create a video response and then reply to the question. When you are ready to respond just tweet out A1 “insert response here” #slowchatED
There will be ONE question asked per day ending on Saturday. That’s six questions all built around the same topic. Then the magic happens.
On Sunday the moderator grabs all of the responses for the week. There are no introductions to wade through and every response should be thoughtful. The moderator will then EDIT and CURATE the archive and turn the results into a blog post. Only the moderators favorite responses will show up in the blog post. It will be there reflection and creation. It will look similar to this #ukedchat blog post by Rachel Jones. But every moderator will have liberty to tweek the blog post to their style of writing and presentation AND they can cross-post their creation to their own personal blog if they want. The blog post will have the moderators personal reflections on the topic and the responses and write a summary statement. This blog post will then serve as a condensed version of Twitter wisdom on the subject. If people want to add resources, thoughts or ideas on the topic they can post them in the comments below the post. (Obviously if you want to see ALL the tweets that badly you can find them yourself using Twitter or another archive tool.)
I am extremely open to tweaking this as we go, for me I just want to see if this can help fix some of the problems we have with Twitter chats. I’ve seen a growing push to move chats to G+ or some other space, but I’m curious if we can use the power of the hashtag to find a solution without leaving Twitter.
I’m starting this next Monday. For this first chat I’m picking the topic and moderating the the blog post. You can see, or recommend possible questions here.
The topic is: EduFamous: How do we best deal with the problems, benefits and goal of being a popular or name educator.