On Wednesday night I stumbled upon a Twitter "chat" organized by a "Twitterer" whose handle is Behaviourgeek. At 9pm (EST) on Wednesdays she organizes a chat with Behaviorbabe which technically lasts about an hour. The topics are formulated in advance after surveying participants (anyone can participate). Here is the topic list from Behaviourgeek's Tumblr site:
If you’re interested in learning more about Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) or want to discuss the science with other clinicians/students then you’re welcome to join us on Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m. EST on Twitter for #ABAchat! The schedule is:
November 9, 2011 - function-based vs. topography-based interventions
November 16, 2011 - extinction technologies
November 23, 2011 - Individuals with ASD as ABA providers * (this chat may move to a Skype platform)
November 30, 2011 - direct instruction for teaching reading
December 7, 2011 - parent training, consultations in the home
December 14, 2011 - history of ABA; dimensions of ABA that are still current
December 21, 2011 - caseloads and service delivery
December 28, 2011 - BREAK (no chat this night)
This schedule is by no means set in stone, but it is the start of some of the topics other behaviour analysts wished to discuss. There’s more topics for the new year (for example, I’d like to get into RFT and third-wave ABA). If you decide to join us, follow the hashtag, #ABAchat and be sure to include the tag on any of your tweets.
See you Wednesdays!
All that is required to join the conversation, then, is to insert the "hashtag" #ABAChat in to the text of your tweet. The cool thing is that you can jump in and out of the conversation...do the dishes, look up email, take a walk (bring your iPhone). And even cooler, the conversation doesn't really end at 10pm EST. Because of the design of Twitter, you can always return to #ABAChat and leap back in to the flow...the conversation continues.
I jumped in, by chance, at about 9pm, put my kid to bed at some point, took the trash out, texted a friend in New York, skyped another friend overseas, all the while keeping an eye on ABA chat and making occasional comments. The end result: A cool exchange about "topography vs. function" in behavior analysis and some side exchanges about obsessive-compulsive disorder with folks with names like BarefootBehvior, thiagodebarros, and BehaviorBeth. And of course they were able to talk with me (boring handle): LWelkowi.
The implication for classroom education is obvious (some will be saying "duh" but it's worth spelling out): Set up hashtags for your class in, say, Clinical Psychology (which I have done), which not only allows your students to discuss class topics at any time outside of class, but even better, allows other people who are not your students to join in on the conversation. Imagine if, on a daily basis, experts, parents, patients and other human beings were able to join and build upon your classroom discussions.
Last night alone, the handfull of participants were from different parts of the globe which is...not to overuse the phrase...very cool.