Why Do I Talk with American Teachers (or Big Up to #edchat!)

I’ve been in educational business for two years now. I work for an educational solutions provider, our offering ranging from printed books to online content and learning environments. Important part of my job is keeping up with technological and behavioral trends having something to do with learning and teaching.

I try to go to conferences, visit schools, and follow news & discussions around edtech. During the last two years I have also started to use Twitter a lot more. One delightful way of educating myself are the many available Twitter chats. I’ve visited #eltchat and #satchat a couple of times, but by far the most I’ve frequented on #edchat.

#edchat is organized two times a week, by Twitter influencers Tom Whitby, Steven Anderson, and Shelly Terrell. Both 1-hour #edchat sessions are on Tuesdays, and they are scheduled according to US time zones. I usually can take part in only one of them, which is 7 PM here in Finland. The latter would be in the middle of the night for me, some time in the early hours of Wednesday.

As the scheduling suggests, #edchat is organized not only by Americans, but mainly also for Americans. And what’s more, the majority of the participants are teachers. So what am I doing there, a European guy working in the industry?

You’d be surprised. I’ve found interesting topics every single time I’ve visited the chat. Typically the organizers tweet a poll of five or so possible topics in the weekend before the chat and it closes some time on Tuesday. The most succesful topic ends up to the later chat (which I cannot attend because I am sleeping) and the second most succesful to the earlier chat.

Maybe it’s the 140 character nature of Twitter that makes it convenient for me to participate, or maybe it’s something else. Whatever the reason, I’ve enjoyed #edchat every single time. The same 140 character length of course limits the depth and detail of arguments, but that is not the point. These chat sessions are more for finding new inspiration, insights, and contacts than thorough solutions to some problems.

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