Interested in joining with other WL teachers for a weekly discussion of relevant foreign language teaching topics? Then join us Thursday at 8pmEST/5pmPST and Saturday at 10amET/7amPT (The same topic will be discussed both sessions).
Suggest a Topic & Participate in our Chat Poll!: #langchat is relevant to the teachers in the World Language community because it takes topic suggestions from the group itself. Each week the #langchat moderators suggest topics and the community votes on which to discuss. Watch for the poll under the #langchat hashtag tweeted out Monday-Wednesday. We are also going to send out the poll via our Facebook page!The winning topic is tweeted out on Thursday as well as an advance look at the questions.If you have a topic you want to suggest – please do – on the #langchat wiki suggestion page!
What’s the Chat Format? Typically the topic is best handled in an ordered “start to finish” way and the chat is a structured Q1/A1 format. In this case moderators tweet out the 4-6 questions in key intervals over the hour. Participants generally start their tweets with the answer number of the question they are replying to – for example an answer to Question 2 would start A2. This is the most common format for #langchat. There are a very few occasions when we do an Open Discussion format. It is generally not structured – that is there is not a specific “Questions 1/Answer 1” format. Moderators (listed at the end of this post) introduce the topic, and ask general questions throughout to prompt thinking and response. Participants ask/respond and suggest all at the same time. Which format? Moderators will always tweet out the format at the start of the chat.
Interested in Joining In? Not sure about this Twitter thing or how to jump into #langchat? Options exist from ‘just watching’ to more fuller participation – read on!:
I am not on Twitter – I just want to watch the chat: If you just want to watch the chat then Twubs will allow you type in #langchat and watch the chat unfold. Remember you won’t be able to participate – but you can see all the action! Participate Learning also allows you to follow the chat…you can access it from their site by selecting the chats tab and finding #langchat.
I want to participate – The minimum requirement to participate is a twitter account and including the #langchat hashtag in your tweet- and there are some suggestions at the end of this post on where to find information on ‘how to’ join Twitter and the basic use of it. An explanation of how to join in on the actual chat can be found on the #Langchat page from @calicospanish. Another explanation of how to join in, with handy visuals, is here as well. If you are joining in for the first time please let the moderators know – it’s great to welcome new people to the #langchat PLN!
Joining In Via The Twitter “Search” – To see/find the chat log in to your Twitter account and type “#langchat” into the Search window (top right corner of your Twitter page) hit the ‘enter‘ key and make sure you have selected “Latest” Tweets. The default Twitter shows you is “Top” so make sure to click on the “Latest”! (You can find towards the top left of the Twitter screen).
Joining In Via An Aggregator – Frequent participants will tell you that using a specific program or an ‘aggregator’ is the best/easiest way to follow a fast flowing chat. Why? Because it allows you to only see tweets with the hashtag you want to follow. I personally favour using Tweetdeck- as it allows you to have your screen divided into columns – one for #langchat only, one for responses to you etc. Suggestions are merely that – suggestions – and if you find/have a tip please let me know so that I can add it. So if you are looking to make following the chat easier…
Using Firefox? There are two easy ways to follow along is by using either Twubs or Tweetchat. When you sign in, the program authenticates your social media account – then you just enter the #langchat hashtag to follow. (Twubs even works if you don’t have an account – and just want to lurk and watch the chat!)
Using Chrome? I have to admit I’d be lost in moderating #langchat without Tweetdeck – in both watching the stream and responding to direct tweets to me. Edublogs – while somehow failing to note #langchat on it’s list of key chats (!) has a good visual primer on how to join a hashtag chat like #langchat with specific instructions for the product “Tweetdeck”. Other resources for using Tweetdeck inlcude this great wiki site (with visuals) should answer most questions. There’s also a useful YouTube video (via @dhnaves) that walks you through it.
Any Browser? On either platform: Hootsuite is a social media aggregator that allows you to collect all of your social media in one location (Facebook, Twitter and more). It also allows dedicated columns – the key for me – for specific hashtags. Tips on using Hootsuite to monitor a chat are found here (more links also in the article!)
Again at a minimum – type “#langchat” into the Search window (top right corner of your Twitter page) hit the ‘enter’ key and make sure you have selected “all Tweets” (you see that at the top of the list of Tweets). The default is “Top” so make sure to click on the “All”!
Don’t Forget that Hashtag & To Make Sure You Are “Public”! If you are joining in be sure to include the #langchat hashtag so we can see what you have to say. If your tweets are not showing up you may want to check that you (a) included the hashtag and (b) have your account set to ‘public’ (‘protected tweets from a ‘protected account’ are only seen by your followers so the entire #langchat community may not get to hear what you have to say).
Not On Twitter or Very New to Twitter? Emilia Carrillo (@spanish4teacher) has put together a great page introducing Twitter and how to follow the #langchat hashtag. It includes a tutorial video on how to join in towards the end of the resources. Another great and detailed guide to Twitter is courtesy of the Edublogs Ultimate Twitter guide – all you’ll need to know to start using Twitter.
Summaries– Think you missed something in the fast-paced chat? Don’t worry – a summary of each chat, highlighting key points/tips/contributions is tweeted out usually within a week of the chat. Summaries of past chats can be found on the #langchat summary page and if you want to read every tweet from a chat check out the corresponding archive. Please note that our summaries are currently drawn from the Thursday chat only.
Any questions? – Please contact any of the moderators (listed below) and they’ll be happy to assist. In the meantime – see you under the #langchat hashtag on Twitter! And follow #langchat on Twitter or via our Facebook page!
Langchat Moderators :