It seems ages ago I entered the world of the Twittersphere for professional and educational reasons only. Today, I couldn’t live without it. The prompt commentaries and sharing of resources via this form of media are extraordinary. Updates re GAFE travel globally instantly. Twitter chats regardless of their creator’s geographical origins do much to expand one’s #edtech and pedagogical visions and desires. In reality, Twitter chats such as my #digitaledchat only survive, sorry thrive due to people being prepared to share not only what their resources but arguably more importantly what they think. For those not aware of what’s involved in a Twitter chat, it is a one-hour online collaboration consisting of attendees responding to six questions with all contributions tied together via a common hashtag e.g. #digitaledchat, #aussieED, #txeduchat, #bfc630nz, #includEDau and so on. It is not uncommon for these chats to go on long beyond the official chat close and for these chats to trend highly around the world. One of the fundamental reasons why I believe these conversations are so popular and engaged in is the fact that all voices are equal and can contribute so, regardless of participant’s age, ethnicity, experience or tenure online. As a result, this sharing is legitimate democracy and caring in action. There is no one voice to “rule them all.”
I remember a few years ago when the phrase “pay it forward’ was everywhere. This phrase still is relevant today in the edtech landscape. When I was starting out my #digitaledchat, I was incredibly nervous and being honest, full of self-doubt. What if no-one joined in, what if people weren’t friendly to one another? What if I have no idea what I’m doing? The answers to these questions were promptly addressed and thankfully positively so. Before starting out, I was a very keen participant in two Australian Twitter chats #aussieED and #includEDau. The respective hosts Brett Salakas and Amanda Meyers were very welcoming to this newbie from across the ditch and were highly supportive of my efforts to develop #digitaledchat. Both of these exceptional individuals were very giving regarding their advice and feedback. I remember one very early #digitaledchat where Amanda had to keep sending me direct messages about the need for the chat hashtag to be attached to not only my questions but also my responses, a classic case of failing forward. Almost 18 months on and I still have regular contact with these two fantastic edtechers. 18 months on and they are both still two of my biggest supporters! As part of “paying it forward (and back)”, I still love participating in their respective chats as often as possible. Amanda’s chat #includEdau is celebrating its anniversary very soon, and so I had no hesitation in contributing a question to their celebratory chat. Regarding #digitaledchat, over the last 4-5 months, I have sought and had many educators from around the world in turn either host or be "devil’s advocate" in my chat. The invite humbled all of them and all of them nailed the opportunity.
The unique constraints of the edtech context and community have created a beautiful collaborative environment that continues to grow exponentially regarding resource sharing and critiques. In doing so, one must presume that our actions will also lead to our core stakeholders our students likewise caring and thus sharing more. Now wouldn’t that be utopic edtech?