AFTER TONIGHT'S TWITTER CHAT with Irish educators wrapped up, I started thinking about the technology inside the online conversation. Although it might look like a fast-paced text-only conversation on Twitter, a much more sophisticated set of technologies actually supports the cluster of 60 virtual attendees. The Monday evening conversations last around an hour and they're discoverable with the hashtag #edchatie. Several advocates announce the topic of discussion on the CESI Mailing List, a service powered by Google Groups. Those who participate in the weekly events have to use more than Twitter to stay in touch. In my case, newsfeeds from teachers' blogs and alerts from Boxcar keep me focused on what's being discussed. So although it might look like a simple thing to invite a new participant to watch the #edchatie flow on Twitter, doing a little background research with tools such as those I've cited would help reduce the confusion that new viewers of #edchatie would feel when first watching the Monday evening Twitterstream.
At tonight's #edchatie meet-up, I asked whether people would be interested in continuing the conversation in a workshop at the ICT in Education Conference in Tipperary Institute on Saturday, May 14. If #edchatie gets a workshop slot, I'd introduce a few other tools that I believe need to be mastered by those who want to make a significant impact in future chats on Twitter. Here is a look at my recommended toolkit:
Moodle is the virtual learning environment that we use in our third level institution. It could be used as the VLE for a programme to train the trainers if we ramped up a short continuous professional development course.
Online Meeting Rooms power the six-seat fully synchronous video classrooms we use on different campuses.
Audioboo is the free audio recording service that students use to produce soundscapes, revision clips and audio interviews.
Flickr is the online photo service that saves and shares images and short videos for classroom assignments.
Dropbox holds files, sample loops, and documents that we could share.
Google Docs is the place where we produce collaborative working documents.
Evernote seamlessly synchronizes key working materials between web, laptop and mobile devices.
Delicious lets me share links to education and training materials.
I mention all these tools because I've used them for more than a year and to good effect. If the leading advocates of #edchatie want to connect and collaborate outside of the weekly chats on Twitter, some of these technologies need careful consideration.