How to get started with ASE Chat
#ASEChat is a weekly science education discussion that takes place every Monday at 8.00pm (UK time). It is easy to take part if you have a Twitter account.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social network open to anyone at http://www.twitter.com Some people call it a micro-blogging platform because your messages (tweets) are short – a maximum of 140 characters long (it was designed to be used with text messaging).
When you have registered and chosen a suitable twitter name be sure to upload a photograph (it doesn’t have to be you, some people use photos of science equipment or phenomena) and fill in your bio so that other people know a little about you. You don’t have to give any personally identifiable information – for example you might just say you are a science teacher from inner London. If you are a regular user of Twitter you can use your existing account or start a new one just for talking to teaching colleagues.
To participate in ASE Chat your posts need to be public so anyone can read them. This means that anyone in the world can read what you are posting – please think about what you post and remember not to give any information that can be associated with specific groups of students at your school (e.g. don’t say my Y9’s are a bunch of blood thirsty animals – as one of your Y9 parents could think you were talking about their child!).
There are some more useful tips here from Creative Education: http://j.mp/twitter4beginners
Twitter is different to Facebook. As well as being more public (you can make Twitter private but that makes it much less useful as a CPD tool) you can follow anyone on Twitter, and people on Twitter can follow you back (you can also follow people who don’t follow you, and you may have followers that you don’t subscribe to) .
To maximise the usefulness of Twitter as a CPD tool you need some like-minded followers. I’ve created a list of UK Science teachers, follow the list and you follow all of these teachers in one go, simply visit http://twitter.com/cleverfiend/uk-science-teachers (and click on follow this list).
You are now signed up and ready to go – but you need some software to help you manage your participation in ASE Chat
Option 1 – Download Tweetdeck (Mac or PC)
Tweetdeck is a piece of free software that makes it much easier to use Twitter than using the normal web interface. Tweetdeck can also filters tweets so for example, you can set up a column in Tweetdeck where every tweet contains the ‘hashtag’ #ASEChat. This is how #ASEChat works. You must remember to include the #ASEChat hashtag in your tweet (message on Twitter) so that everyone else participating in the discussion will be able to see it.
You can download Tweetdeck for free at http://www.tweetdeck.com/
At the middle of the Tweetdeck window, there is an ‘Add Column’ icon, a black plus sign in a grey circle. Click on this icon, write ‘#asechat’ and then press enter. A new column will appear in your Tweetdeck screen with all the #asechat tweets in it.
Option 2 – Use Hootsuite
Hootsuite works on a variety of platforms and uses a column-based way of displaying Tweets similar to Tweetdeck. It works in a web browser window without the need to install software (handy for a work laptop) or there are apps for most popular phones/tablets. If I take part in #ASEchat from my iPad I always use Hootsuite. Setting up Hootsuite is similar to Tweetdeck. You have to register with the Hootsuite site and link your Twitter account to your Hootsuite account. You then have to add a column for #ASEchat.
At the end of each discussion an archive will be uploaded to the ASE website so if you weren’t able to take part you can still see what was said. You can view the archive on the official ASEchat page.
Vote in the Poll (optional)
How do we decide which topic to discuss? There’s a poll on the ASE website with a choice of four topics. Please vote for a topic using the latest poll at www.ase.org.uk/news/ase-chat/ . The topic with the most votes by Monday at 7.30pm BST will be the one we discuss.
Where else can I get help
Watch the tutorial videos here that @Dughall made for #UKEdchat discussions (but swap #ASEChat for #UKEdchat in their tutorials): http://ukedchat.wikispaces.com/HowTo
If you’re still stuck, please feel free to get hold of me at fiendishlyclever.com/contact-me