Twitter is a microblogging tool that has recently been made most famous by the American President Donald Trump. Ok, it was popular before he started running for office, but my point is that everyone is familiar with Twitter. It has approximately one hundred million active users daily. A twitter chat is simply a collection of users that contribute to an online conversation using a common hashtag (#). Twitter chats sometimes feature a guest that allows a community access to his/her expertise.
For the purposes of this post, curation is defined as aggregated content that has been identified and vetted by a human curator. You might choose to leave the searching, sorting, repackaging, organizing and publishing to curators. Serious curators are area specialists who spend a great deal of time and effort to provide their networks with relevant content. The majority of curated content is located, and shared on a casual basis by common social media participants on an ad hoc basis. This can be seen daily on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Part-time curation is something that we do when we have a few spare minutes but the dedicated few that are professional curators are tremendous sources for up-to-date content.
Discovering a curator and trusting that they will curate relevant content that meet your professional requirements may necessitate determination and patience, but the results will be worth it. Just imagine, someone else combing through dozens of sources and hundreds of items to repackage and present the most relevant to your on a daily basis. Continue reading →
As presented in my last post, Personal Learning Network Sources, a Personal Learning Network (PLN) can include numerous resources that assist communication, resource sharing and professional growth. I have found that one of the most challenging aspects of PLNs is organizing the content for efficient retrieval. As PLN resources are added or removed it becomes clear that arranging them is necessary to enable efficient access. A single starting page, or PLN home page, is a solution that I have found provides effective access to my PLN.
A starting page is the first page of your PLN based on the chosen tool. One example is using your Twitter account page, Twitter being the tool, as Anna Bartosik details in her post, How to Connect the Right Way: Using your PLN on Twitter. I use the tool Symbaloo as my starting page for my PLN. The Symbaloo organizer uses tabs, thumbnail icons and text to provide quick access to my PLN resources.
Below, I offer some PLN starting page options. Each of these possibilities embody their own strengths and weaknesses. As a language instructor, you may want to choose one of these options based on your experience with digital organizers, your personal technology skills and the quantity of resources in your PLN. Continue reading →
Last week, just before my webinar on using Twitter for Professional Development and Developing your Personal Learning Network (PLN), I came across a tweet from @danielmccabe, quoting Dave Burgess (@burgessdave), in Teach Like a Pirate , that said:
The negative teachers aren’t on Twitter…the people you see there are trying to move forward and help others move forward. (Burgess, 2012)
I am fresh off a third webinar for TESL Ontario and am basking in the glow of my PLN. This webinar was the second in a series of three that TESL Ontario has supported me in presenting. I had the pleasure of telling some stories about the important connections I’ve made on Twitter with teachers who offer me support and necessary dialogue. My Twitter PLN is the best sounding board for developing and tweaking ideas I have.
One of the challenges for educators active on Twitter is to bring more lambs into the fold. My favourite quote is from @AcademicsSay:
“You’ll have to show me how to do this Twitter thing sometime.” – Every colleague ever.
Over the past twenty years, I have met and befriended many teachers, but don’t even need all of my fingers to count the ones active on Twitter. It’s a shame, really. So many teachers are missing out.
I had lunch with a former colleague this week who was surprised and shocked by what I’ve been able to do Continue reading →
In May 2014, while volunteering at the TESL Toronto spring conference, I was lucky enough to see a presentation by Chris Harwood and Tracy Manning about their experiences implementing a Facebook-based Book Club in their EAP program.
Inspired by their talk, I decided to try this out with my students. It took some weeks of planning, and some trial and error with different books, but in the end it’s become a successful and popular part of my course!