Anyway who's followed #WeirdEd knows I want to shake up the current state of edchat. The problem is there's only so many ways I can see to do it. We're over a hundred chats in on this hashtag and we've been pretty standard with the Q1/A1 format. I've mixed it up some, had people write questions for answers, formed random teams to write the chat (that was fun, maybe I'll do that again next week), done Make a Thing chats in Google Docs. But in the end it always comes back to Q1/A1. It's that or do it freer with just a topic like #edchat does snoringly and #InnoEd used to do strongly. I haven't done much of that, to think of it. I like questions, they keep us focused on the task at hand. And even the open ones like #edchat have moderators asking questions to keep the chat moving, they just don't cop to it or write it out beforehand.
Tonight is another experiment- a panel. Yes a panel like you'd see at ComiCon or a teaching conference. Rather than me ask the group questions, I thought we'd try switching it up and have the group ask questions to a small panel, in this case myself and Lauren Taylor and Shawna Briseno, the two #WeirdEd co-moderators.
The immediate concern when I thought of this, and it was repeated when I floated the idea on twitter, is this makes the moderators the Bringers Of Knowledge. That's never been #WeirdEd's way. I rarely answer the questions that I write because I don't want the people who come to the chat to think there are right answers. There aren't, but like it or not if the moderator answers the questions he writes thats how those answers are read. If there are right answers it's not a chat- it's a quiz.
So how to get around that? We use our answers as a jumping off point for a discussion. I (because I'm still the moderator) will ask someone to ask us a question. That means that I need you to start thinking of questions now. I'm not going to start a Google Doc or a Form for you to write them down because I don't want to see them. I want you to think of some questions, I'll tweet "Who has Q1?" You'll respond that you do, I'll pick you, and away we go. Lauren, Shawna, and I answer your question and then we turn the question over to the floor. More importantly, we turn our answers over to the floor. I'm not looking for you to fight us, but some disagreement or digging, some push-back would be cool. Treat the three of us not as experts, but as people who want to be questioned.
So, the flow of the chat will be Q to Shawna, Lauren, and I. We each answer. Then everyone responds either to our answers or to the question itself.
I have no idea if this will work. It might catch fire, fall over, then sink into the swamp.
But isn't that more interesting than the same old thing?