There are times when I see someone painting a house and wonder if they could be the next hidden talent that has artwork in her basement that would garner big dollars at auction. There are other times when I watch someone singing to the jukebox at a corner pub and wonder if they could have been chosen by Gwen Stefani on "The Voice". In education circles, I wonder where are these hidden gems of teachers, resources, ideas that are stuck behind classroom doors, and whether if anyone would be listening when they are shared or released.
The tragedy of education may be that we have all of the best ideas, best practices, and best resources available, but we have no way to share, curate, and collaborate to bring them to life. We know companies like Participate Learning are trying to break this cycle, and many educators are using tools that search and discover to tether together small networks of excellence, but the question needs to be asked. Can this be a better network with deeper roots and greater value through the volume of those involved?
Over the past five years, educators have flocked together on Twitter to attempt to break traditional structures on networking educational ideas. It has been the place for the lonely, isolated, and disillusioned to gather to talk about a different optimistic view of how learning should take place in the learning spaces around the globe. Though this networked landscape continues to evolve for education as more tools and ways to communicate join the market, Twitter and Twitter chats remain a life blood of new information flow for educators. Each week thousands of educators gather with friends, colleagues, and strangers to talk about hundreds of topics or more that have the potential to make learning great for kids.
This synchronous chatting experience has unearthed resources, both new and old, that were unknown to educators and facilitators of learning around the country. In these moments, those present to chat were able to have access to new and exciting information. Unfortunately, in too many cases, the best ideas and resources in Twitter chats are lost to those who weren’t present, those who were present and wanted to go back to look for items (some chat moderators use services like Storify, even though it is clunky to truly get back to the resources), and those who didn’t know that the chat was even happening.
Many of have been looking for a way to do curation of resources from Twitter chats in a more robust ways, and I’m excited to see Participate Learning stepping up to provide a way to return to resources from a Twitter chat in a way that takes minimal time for teachers and leaders that have precious few seconds to grow their repertoire of tools to support learning. If you want to see this in action go to https://www.participate.com/chats, and check it out for yourself.
From these chats you can see all of the resources in one place, and quickly create your own collection AND a transcript from the chat you are participating in (or any relevant time period). It is incredible to think that we are moving into a space and time when the best ideas aren’t going to be lost in a passing conversation or locked behind the classroom door.
Here’s how it all works
Now within a chat, educators can instantly create a transcript and resource collection by selecting a time period (either in most recent minutes or up to four hours via a simple calendar). This is a huge win as it allows teachers to fold the resources shared during Twitter chat conversations into their fully customizable collections.
The transcript is a snapshot of who participated, resources, and tweets in chronological order. Teachers can retweet or favorite tweets after the fact as well, directly from the transcript. This is another step toward moving into a space and time when the best ideas won’t be lost in a passing conversation or locked behind a classroom door. Platforms like Participate Learning are trying to make sure educators have a quality space to share, collaborate, and collect teaching resources free of charge.