Every Friday at 7PM (EST) there is the hosting of an education chat, ironically named #satchatOC. Like any chat room, joining in on the conversation is like listening in to conversation from another world. Everything from the lingo to the topics discussed was strange and foreign to me. However, the best way to learn any language is to immerse yourself in the culture. The experience may make you feel like a blundering idiot at first, but that means you’re actually learning. As a matter of fact, if you don’t feel inadequate when walking into a new environment, it probably means you’re not listening and learning enough!
The theme to the chat was TeachMeets and edcamps. If you’re as clueless as I was, let me fill you in.
A TeachMeet is like a conference where many teachers get together to discuss ideas, share innovations, and network. Apparently they’re a big deal, because the attendees book their seats far in advance and enjoy discussing the where and when of the next conferences. Most of the attendees come in person, but some of the teachers were talking about having themselves attend electronically.
Where does the funding for these TeachMeets come from? The chat made it sound as if the meets were free to attend. That one supposedly had free venues and food, and they said that the venues were surprisingly open. I guess that TeachMeets are fueled by donations and funding; some TeachMeets are even lucky enough to win government grants.
According to the Chat participants, the latest TeachMeet was on November 30th. If you’re interested in learning more about TeachMeets, here’s the link to the event. Apparently this meet was in Melbourne, Australia.
An edcamp is based on the same principle. It’s a meeting where forward-pressing people can aggregate and share their ideas.
Another new term for me was “Google Hangout.” Nowadays Google is producing a great many new apps, and this one enables video conferences between multiple parties. I suppose that these teachers were planning on using Google Hangout in much the same manner as Twitter – have a meeting at a set virtual location and time, and have interested people join in on that conversation. The only difference is, you actually have to get dressed up for video chats. Twitter allows you to converse with people in the comfort of your own pajamas. Because of this factor, I imagine that Google Hangout meets are more professional in nature.
Another theme of this chat was teachers setting their own goals and standards. That is, how can teachers take ownership of their own teaching? The answers covered a wide variety of topics, but the general idea seemed to be that “[the more teachers are told what to do, the less teachers can be held responsible for their own learning.]” (translated into regular English for the rest of us)
Who did I start following as a result of this experience?
– A teacher, educator, and host from Sidney, Australia
– A history teacher and eLearning coordinator, also from Sidney
– An Innovation Associate Principaal (whatever that means) from Perth, Australia
– A technology coordinator from Indonesia
– A district coordinator from Melbourne, Australia
It’s funny – the entire chat I supposed that these people were speaking Eastern US English. After all, that’s how I was reading their tweets aloud in my mind. Now that I stop and think about it, I would have been the attendee with the strangest foreign accent.