Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hosting A Twitter Party At Your School

Yesterday my colleague, Jen Adams and I, hosted a Twitter party for our staff. Our inspiration came from a blog post that Jennifer Hogan wrote about hosting a Twitter party at her own school. With winter break nearing us, we thought what a great way to kick it off by having something fun and educational at the same time. Maybe our teachers may want to dabble in it over their time-off, if they wanted to. We invited newbies and seasoned Twitter vets to join us. 

Our goal for our Twitter party was to do a little professional development with our teachers on Twitter, because we find so much value in using it in education. It ended up being that, and more though. It ended up being about teachers having a chance to be with one another, having friendly conversations, AND at the same time learning. We loved what we saw. 

Twitter in education is something that has so much value in so many ways; building a PLN to learn and share ideas and resources with other like-minded people, sharing what’s happening in your class and school (#engagesms #engage109), exploring hashtags to connect to a wealth of topic-specific information, joining chats to have real-time conversations on topics that you are interested in to contribute and learn more about (#educoach, #iledchat, #iaedchat, #geniushous, #sblchat, etc.), and making some quality connections with people. There are so many things I'm sure I've missed something. Having a fun, light-hearted party was a perfect way to gather with our teachers and learn at the same time.

We sent this invite to all staff: 

The party took place in a section of our school's library where there were some tables and smart board. We chose four one-hour time slots, so that all teachers had a chance to stop by when it was convenient for them. Our library director and library assistant were so gracious for letting us host our party there. So, we had a few decorations, snacks (cookies, brownies, crackers, cheese) and a "Twitter Challenge" the teachers took, so we had prizes for that (Starbucks or Target gift cards with some chocolates). For each session, after teachers completed the Twitter challenge, we put their name in a bag and if their name was picked, they won the prize! 

When the guests arrived, we had them pick up four handouts:
Jen and I worked one-on-one with the teachers, as well as presented some basic how-to’s about Twitter. Teachers worked through the Twitter Challenge, had conversations with each other, and had fun! The overall experience was so positive and well-received. We found it to be a great way for us all to connect and learn together.

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