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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Moderating #MBEdChat

I had a new life experience last Thursday - co-moderating an education chat on Twitter! I know a lot of my readers (aka, my family) don't understand Twitter or how a "chat" works, so here's an abridged version:

A group of people "chat" together on Twitter. They mark their Tweets, or thoughts, with a specified "hashtag". This hashtag organizes all of these related Tweets into one searchable place. You can follow along by searching the hashtag and reading all of the Tweets that pop up. It's basically as though everyone was posting their thoughts to a central document - in this case, it's Twitter! Educators tend to be very active during these type of chats. 

I regularly participate in two chats: #MBEdChat (Manitoba’s Education Chat) and #IBDPchat (International Baccalaureate Diploma Program chat). I would participate in more (especially #ntchat – New Teacher chat!) but they often occur at a bad time for me (ex. 7:00 pm Central Time = 5:00 am for me).

Manitoba's Ed Chat

The #MBEdChat initiative only started a couple of months ago. I've participated in a few of the chats, as they happen later in Manitoba than other chats which means I'm actually awake! The chat occurs from 9 - 10 pm in Manitoba, which is 7:00 - 8:00 am for me. This timing is still a bit strange, since I get on my bus at 7:00, get to school around 7:25, and have students for first period at 8:00 am.

About 2 weeks ago, the Twitter page for Manitoba's Ed Chat tweeted that they needed a co-moderator, as their regular co-moderator would be away next Wednesday. I thought to myself, "Why not?" and arranged with a colleague to come into school earlier (leaving at 5:45 am!) so I could Tweet from 7:00 – 8:00 am without being interrupted.

However, school on Thursday was cancelled due to Dubai winning the bid for the World Expo in 2020. I still got out of bed and enjoying co-moderating the chat from my living room couch in my pajamas – much better than leaving my apartment at 5:45 am!
As one of the co-moderators, I was in charge of Tweeting out a few of the pre-determined questions and help maintain the flow of conversation. I replied to more to individuals then I normally would while participating during a chat. This week's chat topic was on strategies for teaching EAL students. I have several EAL (or ELL, English Language Learners) students in my classes in Dubai, so I felt as though this chat was very relevant. In fact, English is actually not the first language of most of my students.

Moderating the chat was a lot of fun! I was more engaged in the chat than when I simply participate. It was a bit of a slow night with maybe only 15 – 20 educators chatting, but I learned a lot about teaching EAL students and gained some ideas to implement into my classroom.

Keeping in Touch with my Manitoban Roots

I was determined to stay in touch in Manitoba when I moved overseas. I want to come back home and teach one day, and I want to still have my foot in the door. Little things such as maintaining my Manitoba Band Association membership and having a good Twitter relationship with the Manitoba Teacher's Society and their president keep me connected and relevant (I hope!). I follow several teachers and administrators throughout Manitoba on Twitter, and several follow me as well. These connections help me to remember my roots and my home. Co-moderating this Twitter chat is a perfect example of networking with potential future colleagues back home.

I am glad that I had the opportunity to co-moderate #MBedchat, even though I had to get up early on a day of school that had been called off the night before. I happened to miss this morning's Twitter chat, so I typed this blog post up instead. I will look through the archives soon, and I hope to moderate again in the future if they need a guest moderator! 


  1. Emma ... Great post on synthesizing Twitter's chat phenomenon. You demonstrated how important "connections" can be and how one can still interact at home with their PLN (and others) from anywhere in the world, at any time, wearing anything (even pajamas) :-).

    This Manitoba #MBedchat educational forum was my first entry in to the wonderful world of Twitter chat. Your willingness to volunteer as a guest moderator was indeed appreciated by all participants.

    As a "one finger keyboarder", I do appreciate a chat moderator who can type quickly, respond to individual tweets, and support the sharing and learning that takes place,

    All the best to you & your students in Dubai.

    Take care & keep smiling :-) Brian

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Brian! I'm glad you enjoyed your first Twitter chat - they become addicting!

      I'm so sorry - I meant to ask if you minded that I used a screenshot with your tweets. I hope that's okay! :)