Edu-Twitter Superstars Q & A in the NY Times

What are Edchat, SSchat and Engchat and how did they come about?

S.T.: The conversation began two years ago between three educators, Tom Whitby, Steven Anderson and me. We all desired education transformation and we all saw the need for educational stakeholders to discuss, debate, explore, reflect and act on various issues which impact education. We also included guest experts early on for Edchat.

T.W.:We realized that many valuable mini-discussions were taking place on Twitter with limited exposure, so we started Edchat to gather as many tweeters as we could, at the same place and at the same time, to discuss topics important to educators in general.

Eventually, faced with global participation, we had to add a noon Edchat to accommodate the time zones in Europe. The Edchat Pollwas then developed to give participants more of a say in topic choice. (Some of the broad topics of our chats have been pedagogy, methods, curriculum, skills, technology, leadership, testing, and reform.)

We later branched out to do live sessions with education leaders likeAlfie KohnDiane RavitchHoward Rheingold, Gary Stager, Jim Burke and Steve Hargadon.

S.T.: Alfie Kohn was our first guest, and he spoke about the homework myth. During his dynamic conversation with teachers, Edchat became the number five trending topic on Twitter. We believe this is one of the few educational hashtags that has become a trending topic.

M.R.: I modeled Engchat after Edchat. Last year, a lot of education Twitter chats were emerging but there were none dedicated to English teachers. I was nervous about taking on the task, wondering whether it would actually work or not. But I took the plunge and started Engchat in August 2010.

G.K.: The social studies chat came about in July 2010. I started to participate in various chats, but, as Meenoo did with English teachers, noticed that there wasn’t one that was dedicated to history or social studies teachers. Our first chat took place in July 2010 with about 10 participants. Ron Peck joined in from the very beginning to help us build the chat. The number of participants has grown tremendously in the first year, with the weekly discussion poll getting an average of 70+ votes.

Read the entire article here.

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