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Author Bio: Lisa Conrad, moderator
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In January of 2010, Deborah Mersino launched Global #gtchat (gifted and talented) on Twitter. In an interview with Michael F Shaughnessy in May of that year, Deborah revealed that she started chat at the suggestion of P.J. Kaiser and with advice from Jerry Blumengarten and Corey Alderdice. The weekly Twitter chat brought together parents, educators, advocates and professionals from around the world.
After two years, Deborah Mersino accepted a position at ISTE as Chief Marketing Executive where she continues to support education in our schools. Before leaving #gtchat, Deborah arranged for its continued facilitation by turning to one of her partners and leaders in the field, the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT).
Today, Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT is moderated by Lisa Conrad (@gtchatmod on Twitter), a GT advocate, blogger and parent of two gifted young adults. She lives with her husband outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Thanks to the support of TAGT, #gtchat continues to thrive. The weekly chats take place on Friday at 6PM CT. All facets of giftedness are discussed including such diverse topics as gifted education, twice-exceptional students, social-emotional aspects of giftedness, executive functioning and adult giftedness.
TAGT embraced a simple philosophy when the organization assumed the lead role in facilitating the continuation of #gtchat: to provide a continuous source of open communication and collaboration for the entire gifted community without self-promotion. Their support includes providing a page on their website dedicated to #gtchat. They provide invaluable feedback and assistance to the moderator each week through an Advisory Committee. TAGT provides technical support through staff members who are readily available to assist the moderator as well.
Over the past 10 months, Lisa has added a blog to support discussions on #gtchat. It can be found at http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/ . Each week, she posts a short summary about the previous week’s chat along with all the links included in chat. Weekly polls are posted on the blog on Tuesday mornings and are closed on Thursdays at 4 PM CT. Transcripts are captured via Storify and a link is posted on Twitter by @gtchatmod. Recently, a Facebook Page was added to further extend the conversation and may be viewed at http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/ .
Participation in #gtchat is not difficult. Instructions can be found at http://txgifted.org/gtchat. It is important to remember that you cannot comment during a chat if your personal settings are set to ‘private’. For educators, Twitter and chats can be a great source of free professional development. For parents it is a place to meet with others on the journey and to share information. It has become the pulse of the gifted community.