Lakota’s latest digital push: Online Twitter chats for teachers

It started out as a joke but eventually led to a Lakota East student becoming the first student in the district to moderate a Twitter chat for teachers.

Senior Joe Mislansky was talking to Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller during summer break while helping to expand the school system’s presence on social media.

It has been a point of emphasis for Miller since he became superintendent in August of Ohio’s eighth largest school system.

“I was just kind of joking around and I said it would be cool if I hosted a tweeter chat and he (Miller) said that would be a good idea,” said Mislansky.

The weekly “Lakota Ed” Twitter chats, which began in September, are held online from 8 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday.

“Lakota Ed Chats are a tool that our teachers and staff members can use for collaboration,” explained Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for the 16,500-student district.

“Different staff member facilitates a discussion on a specific topic they choose. Typically, seven questions are asked during a one-hour period. After each question is asked, the participants answer and comment on one another’s posts, always including #LakotaEdChat in the response so that everyone can follow along,” Fuller said.

Miller hosted the first #LakotaEdChat in August.

Last week Mislansky was the first student to moderate a chat. He focused on asking Lakota teachers to share their strategies and philosophies on interacting and motivating students.

Normally the online discussions pull in about 40-48 participants, but Mislansky’s efforts drew 68 teachers.

“It was really nice to see all the teachers that responded,” he said. “I was surprised and the whole event went great. We (the district) have done a lot with social media this year because there is a big push for it.”

Past chat subjects have included: stress management; learning environments and diversity and inclusion.

“Collaboration among our staff is strongly encouraged at Lakota,” said Miller. “Not only within grade levels and buildings but across the district.”

“This year, our professional learning days have been designed to encourage collaboration and our Lakota Ed Chats are another avenue for our staff members to connect. I’ve been extremely pleased with the response to our weekly Twitter chats, including the wide range of topics and number of people who have signed up to facilitate,” said Miller.

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