More than just an echo chamber

It’s 8:58 on a Tuesday night. I’m sitting at my kitchen table with my Laptop open and Twitter pulled up, one tab for Notifications and one tab for the #xplap chat (I know Hootsuite and Tweetdeck can do this in one tab, but this is easier for me). I have a snack next to me and I’m ready for an engaging discussion about gamification in the classroom.

This has been my Tuesday night, almost every Tuesday for the past two years. By this point I know most of the people in the chat and feel like I’m at a point where I can help others in their gamification journey like others helped me a few years ago. I look forward to this chat each week.

This isn’t the only chat I’m a part of. You can find me engaged in Twitter chats on Monday nights at 8 (#tlap and #ksedchat), Thursday nights at 9 (#ditchbook), and the occasional Saturday morning (#leadlap). I love feeling like a part of a community and I glean a plethora of great ideas to implement in my classroom. Being a part of these chats is like hanging out with friends every week. It’s the source of my best professional development.

I’ve started to notice something about these chats. You have a group of passionate educators gathered around a common interest, engaged in a share session of some of their best/most creative ideas. Scrolling through the chat you’ll see affirmations galore, teachers encouraging each other, cheering others along when they start to doubt themselves and generally putting a positive vibe in the world about education. This is phenomenal and there are many days this is exactly what I need. But there’s no push back.

There are times when I need affirmation, but there also times when I need to be challenged. I need someone to tell me when my ideas aren’t on track with my classroom goals. I need someone to ask me deep questions that challenge my stance on classroom issues and helps me solidify my beliefs or alter course to something that will better suit my needs.

How do we prevent the Twitterverse from being an echo chamber where everyone agrees and we never move forward or push the boundaries of what education can be? Maybe it’s the medium itself. 280 characters isn’t enough to engage in a deep discussion.

I also see the value of positive affirmations after a tough day. Is it possible to do both?

2 thoughts on “More than just an echo chamber”

  1. Hey man! I went through the same malaise over EduTwitter awhile ago too. I think alot of the issue is the limited nature of Twitter. It’s a way to open up relationships and then can have conversations in other ways. I get wotried to push back because I dont want a comment taken out of context. I try to take the good ideas out there and reapply them though. The chats are better once you get to know each other.

    The inspirational/aspirational stuff gets to me when its generic. Its like bad feedback to students.

    Talk to you later!

    1. I agree with everything you said here. I think that generic comment especially was right on target. I think you’re right about it being easy for things to be taken out of context.

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