Way back in 2012 I wrote a blog post titled The Tools of #Satchat. It gave readers an inside glimpse of how we promoted, conducted, and archived #Satchat on a weekly basis. Fast forward to 2014 and we continue to use many of those tools. However, as technology and opportunities have evolved, so has #Satchat. Let's take a look at some of the tools that make #Satchat such a tremendous learning experience.....
Twubs: Allows Twitter users to slow down and follow a Twitter hashtag at their own pace. Sometimes #Satchat participants will become overwhelmed with the amount of tweets pumped out in such a short amount of time. Twubs will help alleviate this issue by slowing down the Twitter feed to your liking.
TwitLonger: Have you ever wanted to say more in a tweet but couldn't due to the 140 character limit? TwitLonger allows users to go beyond the 140 characters in order to get the point across in a tweet. Every Saturday morning on #Satchat we tweet out the questions in advance using TwitLonger. This allows participants to keep up with conversation and provide insight that ultimately moves the conversation forward.
Google Sheets: Moderator Billy Krakower utilizes a program within Google Sheets to archive our weekly #Satchat conversations on Twitter. It provides all participants with a resource that they can refer back to, learn from, and share with others. We also use Google Sheets to prepare for the weekly Twitter conversation. Moderator Scott Rocco created a document that helps organize the upcoming discussions. The document is also shared with guest moderators so they can post their questions for that particular week.
Satchat Radio: This past year has been very exciting for the #Satchat Family. In particular #Satchat Radio on the BamRadio Network has provided an opportunity to recap the great conversations that take place on Twitter. Episodes can be found in the iTunes Store or on the Podcast App. Listen to #Satchat Radio as you drive into work, run on the treadmill, or relax outside.
Coming Soon: #Satchat Badges (Earn credit for partivmcolating in our weekly discussions)
Make sure you tune into #Satchathack on Saturday's when #Satchat is off. Typically #Satchathack takes place on holiday weekends.
#SatchatOC (Oceania) takes place every Saturday morning at 10:00 Australian Standard Time
#SatchatWC (West Coast) takes place every Saturday morning at 7:30 PST.
Be on the look out for #SatchatME (Middle East) and #SatchatESP (Espanol) coming this Fall.
Learn more about #Satchat by visiting our webpage.
I constantly preach about the power of social media as a way to activate stakeholder interest in what is happening in our schools. In fact, my new book All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities, brings to light how people are taking advantage of social media feeds to stay informed. At Black River Middle School, stakeholders can keep up with relevant and timely information through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Parents will often comment to me how much they appreciate the timely information that is pushed out on a daily basis. It provides families an opportunity to talk about school happenings at the dinner table.
As a testament to making sure I not only talk the talk but walk the walk, I checked out my son's elementary school Twitter feed. Sure enough there was great information on school happenings and provided me with a chance to have a substantial conversation at the dinner table. Typically I will ask him how school was on that given day and he will answer "good." Then I have to pry information out of him like it was some sort of F.B.I. interrogation. Now I have an arsenal of timely and relevant information that I can use in order to move the conversation forward. My son actually thought it was pretty neat that I knew his principal dyed his hair green for a recent fundraising event. We were then able to discuss in greater detail and have a nice casual conversation without all the stress of truly finding out how his day was.
Schools and parents must make a commitment to leverage the power of social media. With the proliferation of mobile devices, wifi, and web applications it is now more easier than ever to stay in "know" with what is happening on the school setting. The more information and student's educational experiences are shared, the more parents can support efforts at home. For me personally, being able to follow what is going on in my son's school has allowed meaningful conversations to take place at the dinner table. The time is now for schools to tell their stories through social media and for parents to use the information shared as a means to promote the success of their children.
Recently I chaperoned our 6th grade DARE field trip to Citi Field in Flushing, NY. A great time was had by all as the Mets defeated the Pirates and about a thousand pounds of cotton candy was consumed. Our local police department helped sponsor the trip and even sent along seven police officers to help chaperone. It's quite remarkable when a school and police department work together in order to promote the success of students. But I digress. On the way home we sat in about three hours of traffic due to an incident on the GW Bridge. Typically it's about a ninty minute ride home. As we sat in traffic I utilized three tools to help with obtaining real time information and communicating with school stakeholders.....
Waze: Wondeful app that allows users to report traffic issues in real time. I was able to look ahead at our route and determine what issues lie ahead. Plus I reported traffic issues that helped people
Google Maps: Useful app that provided me with total trip time, arrival time, and directions. From the information provided we were able to text parents the new arrival time since we were running late.
Remind 101: Look back at our traffic conjested experience, we could have set up a Remind 101 group to update parents via text messaging.
Social Media: During the field trip I took a few pics of the stadium and students enjoying the day. They were then posted to our school's Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds. Parents if the children in the trip were able to "like" or comment and were able to stay in the know.
As you can see, there are so many ways to stay connected during a field trip. Mobile devices, social media, and web applications enable schools to communicate with stakeholders in a few taps of the screen. Whether you are on a class trip to the zoo or at a marching band competition in another state, available web tools can give people the information they need in real time. Try it out one day and see how a field trip will never be the same.