For educators who thrive on connections, Twitter chats may be the perfect form of professional development. They're free. They focus on just the topic you need. They happen regularly. And they give you access to an instant community, complete with networking opportunities, emotional support and the chance to give back.
Participating in chats even aligns with the ISTE Standards for Educators because they allow you to improve your practice by learning from and with others to explore proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning.
"The collective intelligence of a chat can provide educators with classroom-tested lessons, a variety of perspectives on specific problems or an introduction to emerging technologies," says Daniel Krutka (@dankrutka), who uses Twitter to connect to his students and the rest of the education community. "Chats also offer leaders opportunities to expand their audiences and influence, and they give voice to teachers who might not otherwise have the chance to exercise leadership outside their classrooms or schools."
But with hundreds of ed-related chats, how do you know which ones are worth giving up an hour of your day?
First, pick your angle. Some chats, such as #edchat, tackle a broad range of education issues, while others are based on shared interests in a particular topic, content area, grade level, job type or geographical region. Next, try out a couple that fit your criteria and see which community you feel most at home in.
To get you started, check out this list of 41 education chats curated by the ISTE community, organized by chat type. If you don’t find something for you on this list, check out Participate.com, which hosts an easy to use list of chats organized by topic and even highlights happening each day.
General education chats
#edchat (Thursdays, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET)
One of the first education chats, this popular chat has nine moderators and covers a broad range of topics. Find upcoming topics and read archived chats at edchat.pbworks.com.
#engchat (Monday, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET)
Where English teachers share ideas, resources and inspiration.
#nt2t (Saturdays, 6 a.m. PT/9 a.m. ET)
For educators who are new to Twitter.
#OK2Ask (every other Thursday, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Friendly chat with lots of classroom resources shared.
#satchat (Saturdays, 4:30 a.m. PT/7:30 a.m. ET)
For current and emerging school leaders, #satchat became so popular it spawned two geographically specific offshoot chats: #SatchatWC for West Coasters and #SatchatOC for educators living in Oceania (Indonesia, Polynesia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, etc.).
Job role chats
#1stchat (Sunday, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Chat about first grade teaching.
#kinderchat (Mondays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET)
For anyone interested in kindergarten and early-childhood education.
#mschat (Thursdays at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
For middle school teachers.
#AppleEDUchat (Tuesdays, noon and 6 p.m. PT/3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET)
#BookCreator chat (Last Thursday of the month, 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET)
Over the course of the chat, participants collaborate on a book and publish it online.
#EdTechChat (Mondays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Focuses on topics related to edtech.
#FlipClass (Mondays, 5 p.m. PT/8p.m. ET)
For those interested in the flipped classroom model.
#formativechat (Mondays, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET)
Discussion of topics related to formative assessment, from giving effective feedback to giving students more ownership of their learning.
#Games4Ed (Thursdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET; Sundays, noon PT/3 p.m. ET)
For those interested in game-based learning and gamification.
#iteachphysics (Saturdays, 6 a.m. PT/ 9 a.m. ET)
Bi-weekly chat for physics teachers.
#kidscancode (Tuesdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
For educators interested in helping students learn to program.
#LearnLAP (Mondays, 5 p.m, PT/ 8 p.m. ET)
Focuses on strategies for creating a student-led classroom.
#pblchat (Tuesdays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET)
For project-based learning fans.
#PersonalizedPD (Tuesdays, 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET)
For those interested in customizing professional development to meet the needs of each educator.
#plearnchat (Mondays, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m.ET)
Topics focus on personalized learning, learner agency, changing culture, voice and choice, and strategies to transform teaching and learning.
#Read4fun (Every other Sunday, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET)
Connects passionate educators with books, and with each other.
#Shiftthis (Tuesdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Focuses on implementing gradual change for massive impact in the classroom.
#sschat (Mondays, 4 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. ET)
For social studies educators.
#TLAP (Mondays, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET)
For educators who embrace David Burgess’ approach of teaching like a pirate.
#WeirdEd (Wednesdays, 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET)
Focuses on positive issues, taking action and the kids.
#whatisschool (Thursdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Educators discuss shaping the future of school.
#XPLAP (Tuesdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
Based on Explore Like a Pirate, chat focuses on gamification.
#CAedchat (Sundays, 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET)
California educators discuss education topics relevant to the West Coast.
#NCed (Tuesdays, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET)
For North Carolina educators.
#UrbanEdChat (Thursdays, 7 p.m. PT/ 10 p.m. ET)
For educators who want to discuss urban education.
#UTedChat (Wednesdays, 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET)
Focuses on education topics relevant to Utah and the general education landscape.
This post is an updated version of an article originally published on May 19, 2015.