#asechat and #ukedchat
It happened completely by accident. I happened to be on Twitter yesterday evening and some interesting posts showed up in my timeline tagged with #asechat. So I joined in.
I already sporadically take part in #ukedchat. If you don’t, it’s worth a look; you may have recently read the Guardian article about it (which they ironically tweeted about without the hashtag). Once a week, on Thursday evenings from 8-9pm UK time a bunch of teachers discuss a topic. It gets crazy, as the 40+ page archive testifies, but it’s well worth the time. The topic is voted on during the week beforehand, then the chat is moderated by some brave soul. You miss lots of stuff – the sheer pace guarantees that – but can catch up with the weekly archive, if you want. When I can make it I come away having picked up a few good ideas and wanting to try them out. I suppose the idea is to provide the same environment as the coffee break during a TeachMeet – also a great idea.
Anyway. So this chat was the first one, a trial run specifically for science teachers and educators to share ideas. You can read the archive, if you want. The name #asechat is a convenient label, but you don’t need to be a member of the ASE to join in. (It’s worth considering, but I don’t think anyone’s planning on pressganging.) All you need to do is be prepared to listen, or even better to join in. It will be much easier if you use a twitter interface with a decent search function; for what it’s worth, I like TweetDeck. (If you don’t ‘get’ Twitter, and you’ve still read this far, check out this video.) The plan is for it to happen each Monday evening from 8-9. Maybe I’ll ‘see’ you there.
A few weeks back I swapped a few tweets with other science teachers about the little tips and tweaks that make demonstrations better. For a while now I’ve been collecting these ideas for myself, like we all do. This has usually involved scribbling on printouts or textbooks, less often an electronic ‘cheat sheet’. I’ve used books like The Resourceful Physics Teacher (out of print I think but he’s now got a website, SchoolPhysics) and there are regular features in magazines and journals. But why, I asked, don’t we share these ideas with each other on Twitter by coming up with a useful hashtag? And so #pimpmydemo was born (probably inspired by the book I’ve seen called Pimp Your Lesson). There were a few dozen responses of colleagues who felt it would be useful, then real life got in the way. During the #asechat I raised the idea again and there was enough interest it seemed worth taking it further. Of course, as it was my idea, I couldn’t exactly pass it on to somebody else…
I’ve set up an archive through a site called TwapperKeeper. The archive URL is http://twapperkeeper.com/hashtag/pimpmydemo and it should be automatically updating from now. And to be honest, that’s about it. I’m not trying to run anything, or take credit for anyone’s ideas. I’d suggest that if you can’t explain your idea in 140 characters, including a link to a details page would be worthwhile. If it gets going – and I hope it does – I suspect we’ll see links to blogs, sites such as Getting Practical and YouTube. Perhaps people will ask for help, by using the tag, as well as offering it. We’ll just have to see if anyone except me and a couple of others are interested.
If you think it’s a good idea, all you need to do is tell your followers. This isn’t going to happen by me or you putting out a few ideas and waiting for magic to happen. But it would be interesting to see what happens if the idea spreads…