Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Are we the first?

I admit it. I am a bit on the competitive side. But the question I tweeted to Dan Callahan about hosting a Twitter chat between two edcamps was also about gaining perspective. If it had been tried before, then I wanted to be able to build on previous successes and avoid prior pitfalls. Dan's response meant that we were on our own (and that we were first, but that's not what's really important here.)

The idea was the result of a Twitter conversation I had several months ago with Erin Ochoa. We were chatting about assessment and wishing that we could talk face-to-face about it at Edcamp Edmonton. It was then that I realized that Edcamp GR was being held the same day. Initially, we thought about a Skype session. I had seen it done at Edcamp Detroit and thought it went well (I wrote about it here) but wondered if we could get things started the same way Erin and I had begun our conversation - via Twitter. Therefore, we organized an "edchat" between the two edcamps around the following questions:

We worked out a schedule that took into account the two-hour difference between time zones. The first 10 minutes would be spent getting participants acquainted with Twitter, the next 30 minutes engaging in the Twitter chat, and the last 20 minutes Skyping, which would allow us to extend the conversation beyond 140 characters. So on November 5th, John Golden and I signed up to lead the following session:

It worked out well. I lead the conversation and highlighted some of the nuances of Twitter chats while John tweeted links supporting our discussions. You can see a transcript of the chat here. At about 12:40 pm EST, we Skyped between the sessions. Fortunately, Janet Bell, in Edmonton, took a picture and tweeted it:

Interestingly enough, the Skype conversation we engaged in was mostly about Twitter, not assessment. Participants wanted to talk about how we use it inside and outside the classroom. It was not what I expected (real learning rarely goes as planned) but I would say the first ever edcamp edchat was a success. But being first is not what is really important here. This is what is important:

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