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A Quick Start Guide to Participating in Twitter Chats
by Tom Murray (@thomascmurray)



This past week, I had the privilege of introducing US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, as a guest moderator for #edtechchat, an educational Twitter chat that I founded with four members of my personal learning network (PLN).  Over the course of 60 minutes, almost 2,000 people from around the world, shared about 10,000 tweets in response to the Secretary's six questions related to being a Connected Educator.  Secretary Duncan (@arneduncan) and his Office of Educational Technology (@officeofedtech) deemed October "Connected Educator's Month" for the second straight year.  To close #ce13, Secretary Duncan used the #edtechchat forum to engage in conversation with educators from all over the world.

In reflecting on the chat, many people asked how to get started, and how to possibly follow such a quick flow of information. For one, 10,000 tweets in an hour is by no means typical; but then again, neither is the opportunity to interact with the US Secretary of Education. Although this particular chat with the Secretary may be an extreme example of what possibilities can arise when connecting with others online, each week there are over 160 chats that occur.  Virtually all topics are covered in some fashion. Whether you're a 4th grade teacher (#4thchat) in Maryland (#mdedchat), a principal (#cpchat) in Arkansas (#arkedchat), a new teacher (#ntchat) in Rhode Island (#edchatri), or a parent (#ptchat) connecting on a Saturday (#satchat), there's something for you.

This Quick Start Guide to Participating in Twitter Chats was created as part of the Digital Learning Transition MOOC (#dltmooc), an online "Massive Open Online Course", developed by The Alliance for Education (@All4Ed) and the Friday Institute (@FridayInstitute) as part of Project 24 (@all4edproject24).  Feel free to download and share the Quick Start resource to help educators get started.

Furthermore, the Official Chat List was created by Chad Evans (@cevans5095) and me (@thomascmurray), with help from our good friend Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1). This resource (shortcut: bit.ly/officialchatlist) is a comprehensive list of the educational Twitter chats that take place each week.

Start small. Choose a chat that peaks your interest. Lurk, listen, and learn. When you're ready, jump in head first.  Grow your PLN and get connected through a Twitter chat this week!  Your students will benefit.


About Tom

Tom Murray serves as the Director of Technology and Cyber Education for the Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, Pa. A former middle school assistant and elementary school principal, Murray is passionate about proper technology infusion and differentiated professional development. He was the 2012 recipient of the Blended Schools Network Leadership Award and was featured in Tech & Learning Magazine’s Leadership Profile in December of 2012. Murray’s QCSD cyber and blended learning programs have been highlighted by Forbes.com, T.H.E. Journal, Project Red, the Innosight Institute, iNACOL, and on Digital Learning Day 2013, among others. Murray serves on the advisory board for THE Journal and has co-founded and moderates both #sbgchat and #edtechchat. Connect with him on Twitter @thomascmurray or at www.thomascmurray.com.




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