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Twitter for Professional Development

I have just written an article for an Argentinian magazine called “The Teacher’s Magazine” about Twitter.  Since it’s been a long time, since the last time I wrote on this blog, I thought of reposting it here.  Somebody may find it useful.  Would love to hear your comments about it, or just a greeting! Kisses and hugs from lovely Panama… (I’m travelling around America at the moment, that’s why I’ve been so disconnected)

Everybody seems to be using twitter at the moment. Most celebrities, politicians, the city government, and some of your friends are twitting and retwitting. For that reason, you may find yourself wondering what this is all about. Or maybe you are already one step forward, and have started to ask how it can help you with your teaching.

I believe it will not only help you, it will open you a door to the whole world. You will be able to interact and connect with hundreds of other teachers from all over the world. Teachers coming from all walks of life, and  from all sorts of different teaching contexts. You will have the opportunity of listening to and interacting with those professionals you admire – fellow teachers, teacher training specialists, authors, publishers, etc.- at a very personable level. Apart from that, you will get extremely fast up-to-date information about what is happening in your field, plus a great amount of links and recommendations for materials and teaching ideas. Even though at the beginning twitter may look a bit chaotic, once you start following educators that work in your field of expertise, everything starts to make sense. In this article we will provide you with a step by step tutorial on how to set up your account, and develop your PLN (personal learning network).

Setting up your account:

1)      Enter www.twitter.com and register. You can use a nickname, if you prefer.

2)      Upload a picture of you. People like looking at the person they are talking to.“Your profile picture defines who you are to the online world.  It might be the first and only impression you get with people you meet online.” [1]

3)      Write your biography. It should be 160 characters in length. Include your interests and your relevant expertise in teaching, so that others can get to know who you are and decide if they want to connect with you.

4)      Now it is time to start following other twitter users. Following somebody in twitter means that you subscribe to their twits or updates, which will appear in your timeline (a list in real time of all the accounts you are following, which appears in you twitter homepage). To follow somebody, you can click on “Who to follow” and view the suggestions or make a search by name or topic.

Once you find a person of your interest, you click on follow and voila, you are already following them. If you do not have any clue on who to follow, you can start by following me. I am @sabridv. I will be glad to follow you back, and help you in whatever you need. If you enter my profile http://twitter.com/#!/sabridv  and click on “following”, you will find all the educators I am already following http://twitter.com/#!/sabridv/following . You can browse through the list, and start following some. They are all very friendly and excellent professionals, who love learning collaboratively.

How to interact with other teachers:

 

1)      The main way is by writing your own twits: write about your projects, ask for guidance to solve problems you encounter in you professional life, ask for ideas on how to deal with a specific grammar topic, share interesting links or useful resources, and many more.

2)      You can also read other people’s twits, which appear in your timeline. Remember that you do not have to read every twit the second you see it appear on the screen. You can click on the star, and it will be sent to your profile “favourites” tab, so that you can  read it when you have time.

3)      You can also address a specific person by writing the @ sign in front of their name/handle at the start of the tweet. Beware that the message will still be public, and will therefore appear in your own timeline. The only difference with an ordinary twit is that this message will be sent to that person’s “@mentions” tab, and will be easy to find even if he is not online at the time you are writing. If you click on your “@mentions” tab, next to your “timeline” tab you will see all the twits that were aimed at you.

4)      If you read an interesting twit and you want to share it with the rest of your followers, you should place the cursor over that tweet and click on “retweet”.

5)      Finally, if you want to send a private message to someone, enter their profile and click on the envelope icon. To read your own private messages click on “messages” on the black bar.

To sum up, I truly recommend you to start building your professional learning network If alone we can get to do a simple and easy project, by being with others, we can always go a step further. I have learnt a lot by sharing ideas with others. I have been able to perfect my own creations by exchanging thoughts with colleagues. I am always refreshed and full of new ideas after a short trip over twitter. Being part of this online community of educators has made me realise how important it is the presence of others, who are undergoing the same learning journey, in order to motivate us and push us forward. Of course, we can learn on our own. However, by interacting and exchanging information with others, we can achieve a lot more and the trip becomes more fun.

References:

The English Language Teacher’s Guide To Twitter, tech tip #11:  http://kalinago.blogspot.com/2009/08/english-language-teachers-guide-to.html

 

Twitter VS Facebook

I have been talking with @emapey about the differences between these two social networks and he has suggested me writing a post about this.  I am not very sure wether this is going to be useful for somebody or not, as they are just some ideas about how I use facebook and Twitter. I’m not going to give any recipes. This is just my humble opinion, but since he is usually right on his pieces of  advice and since it’s been a long time since I last wrote in my blog, I have decided to give it a try. I’m sure you are all familiar with facebook but if you don’t know what twitter is about you may want to have a look at this post: The English Language Teacher’s Guide To Twitter. I take the opportunity to strongly recommend you Karen’s blog. It’s great and full of thorough information.

Well, let’s go to the point:  differences between Facebook and Twitter…mmm

1) In Twitter I have professional contacts, people who I have known through the net in general. In Facebook I have my friends. The ones I know face to face. The people with whom I interact socially.

2) For that reason, in facebook I share my pics and things related to my personal life. I post funny links, pages and videos related to art, literature and things in connection with my personal likes. On the other hand, in Twitter I post things related to my profession and to the net itself.

3) In facebook I tend to write long messages and directed to a person in particular ( i.e. I leave messages in people’s walls). In Twitter I write short, impersonal and public messages.

Well, that’s all for today falks. Hope somebody finds this useful. What about you? What do you think about these two social networks? How do you use them?


The Lazy Way to Planning Lessons with Films ( Part 2)

imagesI have already posted about the advantages of teaching with films in this post. However, all the pages I have found in that occasion were commercial ones. FIRST PAY and then get the lesson plan. Fortunately, yesterday I  read a twit about two wonderful blogs with loads of lesson plans based on films. And what is more: they are free. I love this initiatives of collaborative learning in which we all get a benefit.

Well, let’s go to the point. The two blogs were created by Claudio Azevedo.  He introduces himself in his blog saying “I’m a teacher at Casa Thomas Jefferson, Brasilia, Brazil. I’m a Branch Coordinator and Teacher Trainer as well. I really like movies and seeing them with “different” eyes, trying to see how I can use them in my classroom.” Apart from that, he discusses the advantages of teaching English with films in this post.  What I like the most about his blogs is that he doesn’t only share the lesson plans, but he also gives tips on how to create our own lesson plans.

Well, by this point you must be all willing to know the addresses of his blogs. The first older one is ” Movie segments to assess grammar goals”.  It cointains a series of movie segments and activities to assess or practice grammar points through fun, challenging exercises. The new one, which is only one week old, is “Movie segments for Warm-ups and follow-ups”. The lesson plans found here are to be used to brainstorm, warm up, follow up, and activate schemata, preparing the students for the topic that will be discussed in class.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you find it as useful as I had and please Claudio, keep up the great job you are doing. If you have a good lesson plan to share don’t hesitate to contact me or Claudio,  and we would be glad to publish it in our blogs.

How to Share Files in Twitter!!!!

Don’t think that it is something complicated. In fact, sharing your pics, word documents, power point presentations and others with your Twitter friends is at one-click distance. It is extremely easy with this new application: Tweet Cube. “Tweetcube allows you to share files on Twitter. Blast out your images, videos, music and more with just a couple of clicks.” Apart from that, it is 100% FREE!!! The only drawback is that you can currently upload only 10 mb. However, you can upload as many files as you want. Take into account that the files will be deleted after 30 days. Hope you enjoy it. And remember, if you want to start following me, I’m sabridv at Twitter.

Statistics about your Twitter!

If you are a Twitter addict or fan, you will most probably get surprised once you use this great and fun tool: Twitter Charts. You are asked to enter your Twitter ID (which must be publicly available) and then, the system generates lots of charts providing information about your tweets by month, day of the week and hour. It also specifies who you have been twitting with. A nice toy to play with and realise how much time we spend in front of the computer without realising it.

NOTE: Emapey has written a good post about this in his blog : Online Sapiens

Images in Twitter?

I have already told you that I have become a twitter-addict in a certain way. In this short week I have spent there…Is it a week already? It must be less than a week, but taking into account the amount of information I have received, it seems as if I have been in Twitter for a whole year.

I have just received a message in Twitter from a person I’m following (Courosa) sharing a great link: http://www.twitxr.com/ . This application allows you to share pictures in Twitter. You just have to sign in, enter your Twitter account name and your password. Then, you write a short message and upload a picture. The message with a link to the picture will be sent to all your Twitter followers.

I have just tried it out (I’m also sabridv in twitxr. I’m not that original) and it worked well. The only thing you have to take into account is that when you write the message, make sure you write less than 100 characters. If not, in the Twitter message the link to the picture would be broken, because there is not enough space (remember that Twitter allows you to write only 140 characters). Have I been clear enough?

I don’t know what we can use this tool for, but I like it. If you have any ideas, why not sharing it with us in the comment section? Looking forward to your answers.

To Twit or not to Twit?

After a long time I have come back to real life. I have been away on holidays during January and it has taken me a great time to realise that my vacation time is over. Now, that I’m fully back I can start posting in my blog more often.

Today, I will talk about a very interesting and useful tool: Twitter. I have been told about Twitter long ago, but when I entered the page and saw that you have just got to answer the question “What are you doing?”; I thought “How useless”, closed the window and forgot about it.

However, the word Twitter started to appear quite often in my delicious network. Twitter, Twitter and Twitter everywhere. Everyone in the field of education and technology seemed to be giving it a try, and I could be no exception.

I have just been using Twitter for two days and I have to confess that I have become a Twitter-addict (does this word exist already?) Twitter is a great way of getting the latest news in the field that you are interested in. Apart from that, you can receive instant help from people around the world by just typing a questions.

I have tried it and it worked for me. I wanted to know how I can read and post to Twitter through Skype. I posted the question. One of my followers repeated the question and one of her followers provided me the answer after just a few minutes. Would you like to know the answer? Here it is. Very simple:

1) Add the contact twitter4skype to your skype

2) Send this message to the contact via chat:

account/ (shift+enter)

the name of your twitter account (shift+enter)

the password of your twitter account (shift+enter)

NOTE: Make sure that you send everything in the same message.

You should receive a message that reads twitter4skype registration complete. Now you can start receiving and posting Twitter messages.

I have realised that the key to Twitter is networking so if you are interested you can start following me. I’m sabridv in Twitter. See you there.