The pedagogy of Twitter chats
Posted September 15, 2014on:
In what might have come across as a rant about the level of learning among teachers participating in hashtagged Twitter chats, I hinted at the pedagogy of such chats.
After mentioning what I considered a good example of a chat, I highlighted a few pedagogical principles:
There was a hook, clear conversations between people, and a resolution at the end. As an informed educator, you should be able to link each phase to one or more educational psychology principles or instructional strategies.
For example, the three phases above might be linked to activation of schema, social negotiation of meaning, and resolution of cognitive dissonance. In plain speak, they are so wow, so what/why/how, and so what is this to me.
Such chats are forms of informal professional development or informal education. That does not make them exempt from good pedagogy.
Furthermore, as tweets tend to fly by faster than most participants can process, it is important to promote learning by reflection or some form of post-processing.
Participants could summarize what they learnt or contributed in a closing tweet, write a longer form reflection in a blog, or Storify the tweets.
I am not impressed with most Storified tweets because most chat facilitators only archive the tweets as is. That is, an entire collection of hashtagged tweets is copied to Storify in reverse chronological order.
There is no consideration for how difficult such an archive is to read, there is no sense-making, and there is no curation of content.
I have tried to model one approach to Storifying tweets in the link below. (BTW, the embedded Twitter card in WordPress makes Storify appear as a nifty slide show!)
To promote deeper, more meaningful learning, participants of chats should realize that chats are not just grab-and-gos.
The best chats happen when you give, connect, and reflect. The best lessons tend to be about that too. So why should we do anything less?