#caschat is a weekly Twitter chat, hosted every Tuesday, 8pm, which is dedicated to the teaching of Computing and Computer Science. It came about as a result of the buzz on Twitter surrounding the Computing At School Annual Conference back in July. For those new to the concept, a Twitter chat is a live event where a group of Twitter users meet at a pre-determined time to discuss a particular topic, using a designated hashtag; in this case #caschat. Aside from being a fun way to connect and engage with likeminded professionals, Twitter chats are great for reflection and a perfect medium for sharing resources and best practice.
Tips for taking part in #caschat
For those new to twitter chats, here are some handy tips to get you started:
1. Use the Hashtag.
The hashtag (#) symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. It was created by Twitter users as a way to categorise messages. All twitter chats use a designated hashtag. Make sure you use the hashtag at the end of your tweets; this will help others locate your responses. You can also use the hashtag to search for questions you may have missed, for example, search #caschat Q1, Q2 etc.
2. Join in the conversation.
There’s nothing wrong with lurking however, to truly feel the benefits of a chat, it’s best to participate. The most effective way to contribute is to respond to questions however, if you’re feeling a little nervous, the easiest way to get involved is to re-tweet anything you agree with or find helpful. Re-tweeting can also help build relationships with the original poster as well as provide value to your own followers.
The most effective way to engage in the conversation is to reply to questions. Everyone has something to offer ... you never know you might be holding the missing piece of the puzzle. Replying to other people’s questions can also help develop connections with new users and encourage them to follow you on Twitter.
3. Label your responses.
Most chat sessions use the Q1, A1, Q2, A2, (question / answer) format. When replying to a question, always label your answers with the question number.
Q1. What is a hashtag? #caschat
A1. The hashtag symbol is used to label a tweet – similar to a label on a folder! #caschat
5. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
If you’re not sure about a topic or don’t understand an abbreviation or term used in a question, it’s OK to ask! My experience of education chats is that everyone involved is supportive and non-judgemental. We were all new to twitter once and will totally understand how daunting twitter chats can be at first so don’t be afraid to ask no matter how stupid you think the question is – chances are you’re not the only one thinking the same thing!
Here are a few common abbreviations used in twitter chats along with their meaning:
RT = Re-tweet
MT = Modified Tweet (A re-tweeted message that has been modified from the original)
HT = Hat Tip or Heard Through (Usually used to acknowledge/credit the original source)
Ts = Teachers
Ss = Students
Ps = Parents
4. Take your time.
Some chat sessions, particularly popular fast paced sessions, can appear daunting at first however, the trick is to go at your own pace. Equally, it’s OK to dip in and out of chat sessions – don’t feel guilty if you have to leave a chat session early or join a chat late.
Interested in hosting #caschat?
We are always looking for volunteers to host #caschat. If you’re interested, check out the official #caschat thread on the CAS Community and register your interest.
#caschat takes place every Tuesday, 2pm CDT/ 8pm GMT / 9pm CET
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