Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey



Interested in joining with other WL teachers for a weekly discussion of relevant foreign language teaching topics?  We chat on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of each month – and look for guest-led chats on the other Thursdays too. (Note: Our ‘sister chat’ #langbook often occurs on the 2nd/4th Thursdays. And if no official chat is happening teachers often choose a casual meetup under the #langchat hashtag on those days!)

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 (listed at the bottom of this post) 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! If you have a topic you want to suggest – please do – on the #langchat wiki suggestion page!

What’s the Chat Format? The chat is a structured Q1/A1 format. 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. We retweet the question/image several times…you can expect to spend about 10 minutes on each Q…but feel free to keep discussing it later!

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 – All you actually need to be able to be ‘in’ on the chat is the #langchat hashtag and to be on Twitter at the scheduled time. There is no sign in, no need to ask to join something. So again the minimum requirement to participate is a public twitter account (that means your tweets aren’t ‘private’ just to followers), being on twitter at the time of the chat and including the #langchat hashtag in your tweet. 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 minimumtype “#langchat” into the Search window (top right corner of your Twitter page) hit the ‘enter’ key  and make sure you have selected “Latest” tweets (you see that at the top left of the list of Tweets). The default is “Top” so make sure to click on the “Latest”!

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 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!

Happy #langchat – ing!!!

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  1. Hola Coleen,

    This information is great! I have a video explaining how ti join #langchat here:

    Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks so much for the information Emilia. May I include a link to this, and the video independently, on this page?
    Happy New Year!

  3. Hi Colleen,

    I am brand new to Twitter, and really excited to participate in an upcoming #langchat session! I have a technical question, though. We tried doing a Twitter chat during our district’s WL professional development this week, and no one was able to see my tweets through Twitter search, even though I was typing the hashtag correctly. (When a follower would re-tweet, then the message would show up in the search feed.) I looked around the Twitter support pages and Google, and discovered that Twitter search does not automatically share a user’s tweets globally just because they use a hashtag; instead, there is a mysterious and complicated algorithm used to determine if your Tweets are likely to be of interest to the global Twitter community. And that’s basically all they’ll say on the matter (bummer!)

    Anyway, I know that no matter what, I’ll be able to read along and benefit from the #langchat sessions, even if I don’t participate. But I would very much like to be a part of the conversation as well. Have y’all had any new-to-Twitter teachers experience a similar problem, and if so, were they able to find a workaround?

    I am really excited to explore your blog this summer and learn what kind of cool things I can do in my Japanese classroom next year!

    – John

  4. Hi John,
    Glad you are keen to participate in chats. As for people not being able to see your tweets – is your account private or public. If you protect your tweets then no one will be able to see them beyond your followers. That means if you participate in a hashtag chat, even if you type it correctly, no one beyond your followers can see it. If it showed up when your followers retweeted it then that probably is the case. Take your account ‘public’ for everyone to see. Also if you are using the ‘search’ window to follow a chat make sure you click on the “all” at the top – the default is for ‘top’ tweets so you have to click on ‘all’ to see all. If you are trying to follow a hashtag chat I really recommend one of the options listed on the page – my personal favourite is ‘tweetdeck’ (Chrome browser extension) – great for following a chat and seeing who responds to you. Let me know if that was the issue (public vs private).

  5. As an added comment to my reply. Your account is public – I suspect you were using the ‘search’ window to try to follow the chat and did not click on “all” – but instead were seeing ‘top’ tweets. Could that be the case?

  6. Colleen,

    On one of Twitter’s Support Pages, the company notes that “Twitter Search intends to bring you closer to content most relevant to you. Our results are refined to combat spam and increase relevance to provide the best possible search experience. Keep in mind that not all Tweets are indexed. Our Support team is unable to force individual Tweets into search.”

    Even clicking on “All” at the top of the search window does not let me or others see my hashtagged tweets, unless they’ve been re-tweeted/favorited or include an @mention to you or someone else who is an established Twitter user. I suspect that I will need to work on increasing my Twitter activity over the summer, so that by the time #langchat starts up again in the fall, I will score highly enough on the indexing algorithm so that my Tweets will show up in search.

    But that’s okay! Even if I can’t participate right away, #langchat is an amazing resource, and I am so happy to know about it now. = ) (Also, I failed to remember that I have an early evening commitment this Thursday anyway, so I likely won’t even be home during this week’s chat.)

    Thank you again for all of your support and guidance!

    Best wishes,


  7. It is unusual that you are experiencing this. The use of Tweetchat, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Twubs is a great workaround as it follows a hashtag and does not rely on Twitter to determine a search criteria. Check those out – it’s how most #langchat participants follow along any way – as we all find the ‘search’ window limiting in a lively chat. Good luck and see you on #langchat soon.

  8. Thanks so much for this helpful post. I teach a course about using technology in the language classroom for pre-service teachers. In one mod they are required to participate in a Twitter chat, so your blog will be extremely helpful to them.

  9. Thank you Maryanne for your comments. The resources listed in the ‘comments’ section as well are very useful including Emily’s video. In addition the moderators of #langchat are presenting at ACTFL 2014 in San Antonio on the benefits of #langchat – including a ‘station’ session on ways to follow a chat and ‘new to twitter’ Q&A.

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