For a number  of weeks now teachers across the country have been getting together on Monday nights to chat about educational issues suggested by some of the participants. The conversation is conducted through the medium of Twitter, the micro-blogging website. The discussion is known as an “edchat” and is practised by teachers internationally. The chat in Ireland uses the “#edchatie” Twitter hastag in order to keep the conversation together. It has been organised by Fred Boss of the NCTE (National Centre for Technology in Education).

This is how edchats work:

1. A poll is set up to look for input from all participants on topics for discussion.

2. Once that poll has closed the topics are set and then put up for a vote.

3. The topic that gets the most votes will become the topic for the edchat on the chosen night.

The edchatie then takes place on Monday nights from 8.30pm – 9.30pm. It opens with introductions from all participants and the edchat kicks off on the topic to be discussed. Participants need to make sure that they include the hashtag #edchatIE in all of their tweets so that they can all be collated. If you miss the live edchatie, all the tweets are collated afterwards into a summary which can be read on the edchatie Wiki. In order to keep an eye on the #edchatIE discussions, it’s a good idea to use a Twitter client, such as Tweetdeck. You can open a separate column in Tweetdeck based on tweets that only use the #edchatIE hashtag.

Topics already discussed in the edchatie are:

1. Examples of how a little technology in class can go a long way

2. ICT Support in Schools

3. Solutions to the crowded curriculum

4. How to bring teachers on board who are tech-resistant

5. How to reform the curriculum to better integrate ICT

6. Data Projector and web-connected PC/laptop – what can be accomplished with this setup?

7. VLEs for learning or PLNs?

8. Ways that educators from 1st, 2nd& 3rd-level could work together,to benefit both students & ourselves

9. How can we encourage 20th Century teachers to adopt 21st Century methods in their classrooms?

So come along and join in the chat on Monday nights. Set up a Twitter account, join in the conversation and include #edchatie in all of your tweets.