What Is This #PIAchat Thing All About?



#principalsinaction is a wonderful group of principals who are always working to be better for their kids and their schools. There is a running hashtag on Twitter where principals, and others in and out of education, can see the great things principals are doing every day. The group consists of about 100 principals that stretch from coast to coast across this beautiful nation.

But there is also a Twitter chat that occurs on Tuesday nights at 8:00 CST that is what we consider the fastest 30 minutes on Twitter. Moderators post a few questions and principals from all over the country respond. We end with a call to action or a challenge that many of the principals take on as the focus of sharing the great things in their school.

For me (Mark), engaging in Twitter chats has provided some of best professional development I have received, and it’s free! I started as a lurker, advanced to answering questions and contributing, to these days volunteering to facilitate and lead Twitter chat discussions. After four years of Twitter chats, I can even engage in two chats at once provided I’m using the TweetDeck tool.

For me (Ryan), Twitter chats have been a way to constantly push my thinking and hear what others have to say on topics that I am not so comfortable with. It took my awhile before I felt comfortable with jumping in and actively participating in the chat. I would sit and watch the chat, but thought that no one could learn from me. I was wrong! There is so much power in sharing your thoughts and your story. Your answer to some of the questions might spark a thought of another person and that is what it is all about. Pushing each other to be better leaders and better people.

For me (Jay), Twitter chats really got me started in the Twitterverse. I initially was a lurker, like Mark, but when I jumped into the discussion, I realized I could learn so much more. The connections began and with it came a comfort level to connect with others face to face at conferences and EdCamps. Before Twitter, I either wouldn’t have known other attendees or I would have been nervous to walk up to speak with them. Twitter became the conduit to deeper professional relationships that fostered learning unlike any other learning before.

Why take part in a chat?

Chats help to focus a conversation. Moderators or co-moderators post questions that pertain to a topic, often in a Q1 (Question 1), A1 (Answer 1) format. Chat participants answer the questions and this oftens provides ideas and suggestions that hadn’t been thought of before.

Chats provide connections to others with similar and different perspectives. This allows participants to grow and learn that don’t occur in other ways, like reading books or blogs. Participating in chats helps to grow your professional learning network, or PLN.

Chats can be searched by hashtag. Our hashtag is #PIAchat, short for #principalsinaction chat. If you happen to miss the chat, you can always go back and search the hashtag to see what you missed.

Hopefully you can join us for the next #PIAchat on August 22, 2017, at 8:00 CST and learn what this #PIAchat thing is all about!

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