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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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#Satchat: A Great Way for Administrators to Connect

#Satchat is a great example of the power of social media to improve education, and the benefit of expanding an educator's Personal Learning Network (PLN). The premise behind this Twitter chat/hashtag came about when Scott Rocco (@ScottRRocco) and I (@bcurrie5) connected on Twitter in February 2012. Both of us had a passion for education and knew other school leaders around the globe who shared our enthusiasm. What we would soon realize is that this passion was not restricted to local or national educators, but had a global reach.

Inspired Beginnings

The concept started simply one day when we began direct messaging each other on Twitter and tossed around some ideas related to school leadership. In particular, how could ideas be shared and topics discussed pertaining to all things administration? We agreed upon a discussion group that would chat on Saturday mornings and focus on current and future school administrators. After some further discussion through direct messaging, a topic was picked and promoted through Twitter, and on Saturday, April 14, the first #Satchat debuted. The event was a resounding success due to the 20-plus school leaders/educators that participated. Fast forward to July, and #Satchat averages 75 participants from around the world on a weekly basis.

What makes the weekly #Satchat Twitter discussion work is the growing number of participants who continue to share their wonderful insight from the world of education. Current and emerging school administrators from the Middle East, Europe, Australia, Canada, California, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, North Carolina, New York, Alabama, Pennsylvania and other parts of the world have contributed to this lively and healthy weekly discussion. Over the weeks topics have ranged from why educators become school leaders to how you get others to believe in you as an administrator. The insight is tremendous, providing professional development and food for thought that can be brought back to your school and possibly implemented the very next week.

The Power of Tech

The tools of the ever-evolving #Satchat discussion are many. During the week, Scott and I use Twitter's direct messaging feature as we prepare and discuss questions and topics for the upcoming chat. Periodically, we use a Twitter Poll to survey participants about what they are interested in discussing during #Satchat. Daily promos go out on Twitter and also by way of an Audioboo. During the actual chat, Twitter for iPad, HootSuite and other Twitter tools enable participants to communicate and get their points across. After the chat, we use Storify to archive the chats and make them available to those who participated. A wiki and #Satchat website are maintained by the very talented co-founder of #NJED Bill Krakower (@wkrakower).

The impact of #Satchat has been inspiring, to say the least. Superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, assistant principals, teachers, technology coordinators and various other education-related personnel have shared and consumed pertinent information related to improving the field of education. Moving forward, it's our hope that hundreds if not thousands of school leaders will join #Satchat and make it a one-stop sharing experience for all things administration and all things education. What we've all learned quickly through the first few months of #Satchat discussions is the value of a PLN and the power we have in sharing information that will make us all better educators. Please join us every Saturday morning at 7:30 am (Eastern) for #Satchat.

Scott Rocco (@ScottRRocco on Twitter) is the co-founder of #Satchat and contributed to this blog.

Photo credit: 12485267@N06 via flickr

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