How Tweet IT Is: Expanding your professional learning network


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These slides are from a presentation I gave at the 'Four Seasons Conference' for the Indonesian, Spanish, French and Italian teachers' associations in South Australia. It focuses on using Twitter to enhance language teachers' professional learning networks.

I used MinXuan Lee's presentation ('How Twitter Change My Life', as inspiration for this presentation, and thank her for her generosity in allowing me to use some of her slides.

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  • From TIME: “The one thing you can say for certain about Twitter is that it makes a terrible first impression. You hear about this new service that lets you send 140-character updates to your “followers,” and you think, Why does the world need this, exactly? It’s not as if we were all sitting around four years ago scratching our heads and saying, “If only there were a technology that would allow me to send a message to my 50 friends, alerting them in real time about my choice of breakfast cereal.”The technology writer Clive Thompson calls this “ambient awareness”: by following these quick, abbreviated status reports from members of your extended social network, you get a strangely satisfying glimpse of their daily routines. We don’t think it at all moronic to start a phone call with a friend by asking how her day is going. Twitter gives you the same information without you even having to ask.
  • Twitter is an online service that enables you to broadcast short messages to your friends or “followers.” It also lets you specify which Twitter users you want to follow so you can read their messages in one place.
  • Twitter is designed to work on mobile phone as well as on a computer. All Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters, so each message can be sent as a single SMS alert. You can’t say much in 140 characters. That’s part of Twitter’s charm.
  • The social warmth of all those stray details shouldn’t be taken lightly. But I think there is something even more profound in what has happened to Twitter over the past two years, something that says more about the culture that has embraced and expanded Twitter at such extraordinary speed. Yes, the breakfast-status updates turned out to be more interesting than we thought. But the key development with Twitter is how we’ve jury-rigged the system to do things its creators never dreamed of.In short, the most fascinating thing about Twitter is not what it’s doing to us. It’s what we’re doing to it.
  • 1. Together we’re betterTwitter can be like a virtual staffroom where teachers can access in seconds a stream of links, ideas, opinions, and resources from a hand-picked selection of global professionals.
  • 5. Newsroom and innovation showcaseTwitter helps you stay up-to-date on news and current affairs, as well as on the latest developments in areas of interest like school leadership and technology.
  • This is what the naysayers fail to understand: it’s just as easy to use Twitter to spread the word about a brilliant 10,000-word New Yorker article as it is to spread the word about your Lucky Charms habit.Put those three elements together – social networks, live searching and link-sharing – and you have a cocktail that poses what may amount to the most interesting alternative to Google’s near monopology in searching.
  • Twenty years ago, the ideas exchanged in that conversation would have been confined to the minds of the participants. Ten years ago, a transcript might have been published weeks or months later on the Web. Five years ago, a handful of participants might have blogged about their experiences after the fact.But this event was happening in 2009,, so trailing behind the real-time, real-world conversation was an equally real-time conversation on Twitter. At the outset of the conference, our hosts announced that anyone who wanted to post live commentary about the event via Twitter should include the word #.... In his 140 characters. In the room, a large display screen showed a running feed of tweets. Etc etcPeople from outsideInjecting Twitter into that ocnversation fundamentally changed the rules of engagement. It added a second layer of discussion and brought a wider audience into what would have been a private exchange. And it gave the event an afterlife on the Web. Yes, it was built entirely out of 140-character messages, but the sum total of those tweets added up to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles.
  • Together we’re betterTwitter can be like a virtual staffroom where teachers can access in seconds a stream of links, ideas, opinions, and resources from a hand-picked selection of global professionals.Global or local: you chooseWith Twitter, educators can actively compare what’s happening in their classrooms with others on different continents. 3. Self-awareness and reflective practiceExcellent teachers reflect on what they are doing in their schools and look at what is going well in order to maintain and develop it, and what needs improvement in order to make it better. Teachers on Twitter share these reflections and both support and challenge each other.4. Ideas workshop and sounding boardTwitter is a great medium for sharing ideas and getting instant feedback. You can gather a range of opinions and constructive criticism within minutes, which can help enormously, whether you are planning a learning experience, writing a policy, or putting a job application together.Newsroom and innovation showcaseTwitter helps you stay up-to-date on news and current affairs, as well as on the latest development in areas of interest like school leadership and technology.Professional development and critical friendsQuality-assured searchingCommunicate, communcate, communicate (140 characters is great discipline)Getting with the times has never been so easy!
  • Not all these developments will be entirely positive. Most of us have learned firsthand how addictive the micro-events of our person e-mail inbox can be. But with the ambient awareness of status updates from Twitter and Facebook, an entire new empire of distraction has opened up. It used to be that you compusively checked your BlackBerry to see if anything new had happened in your personal life or career: e-mail from the boss, a reply from last night’s date. Now you’re compulsively checking your BlackBerry for news on other people’s lives. And because, on Twitter at least, some of those people happen to be celebrities, the Twitter platform is likely to expand that strangely delusional relationship that we have to fame. When Oprah tweets a question about getting ticks off her dog, as she did recently, anyone can send an @ reply to her, and in that exchange, there is the semblance of a normal, everyday conversation between equals. But of course, Oprah has more than a million followers, and that isolated query probably elicited thousands of repsonses. Who knows what small fraction of her @ replies she actually has time to read? But from the fan’s perspective, it feels refreshingly intimate: “As I was explaining to Oprah last night, when she asked about dog ticks…”
  • Unless professional development can be structured in an ongoing, relevant and on-demand way, experience suggests that much of it will be wasted. Grassroots PD
  • How Tweet IT Is: Expanding your professional learning network

    1. 1. Expanding your professional learning network Penny Coutas 4 Seasons Conference EdD Candidate French, Indonesian, Italian and Murdoch University Spanish Language Teachers Adelaide, September 2009
    2. 2. Keep standing if you… 
    3. 3. …chat to colleagues about work 
    4. 4. …chat to colleagues about other stuff 
    5. 5. …belong to a professional (teachers’) associa<on 
    6. 6. …use email 
    7. 7. …use Facebook 
    8. 8. …have colleagues as “friends” on FB 
    9. 9. …have students as “friends” on FB 
    10. 10. …have a blog or other website 
    11. 11. …use a RSS Reader 
    12. 12. …are here mainly for the food 
    13. 13. Social Networking  =/  Educa<onal Networking  =/  Professional Networking 
    14. 14. Social Networking  =/  Educa<onal Networking  =/  Professional Networking 
    15. 15. But it’s all personal networking 
    16. 16. Expanding your professional (personal)  learning network 
    17. 17. PLN yourself at hLp:// 
    18. 18. What do people tweet about? 
    19. 19. Tweet to your followers 
    20. 20. Follow others 
    21. 21. Reply using @ 
    22. 22. Private message using d 
    23. 23. ReTweet using RT 
    24. 24. Create convos and trends using # 
    25. 25. Expand & enhance my professional circle  Generated by TwiLer Friend Wheel hLp://thomas‐ 
    26. 26. Learn from the influencers  What has their aLen<on? 
    27. 27. Learn from the teachers  What has their aLen<on? 
    28. 28. The best of the web 
    29. 29. Form a backchannel  Backchannel 
    30. 30. Get help 
    31. 31. Iran elec<ons 
    32. 32. MarrioL & Ritz bombings 
    33. 33. Wil Anderson @ #Logies 
    34. 34. Language Teachers  Get to know those who know 
    35. 35. Not just real people: Bots too! 
    36. 36. Students can use TwiLer in their own PLN  hLp:// 
    37. 37. But don’t assume that they do already 
    38. 38. Mash and mix it up!  hLp:// 
    39. 39. Find people you already know 
    40. 40. Find like‐minded users  hLp:// 
    41. 41. Get a client  Applica<on database: hLp:// 
    42. 42. Learn by doing 
    43. 43. Find a guide (person or other)  hLp:// 
    44. 44. Set your privacy (and purpose) 
    45. 45. Penny Coutas 4 Seasons Conference EdD Candidate French, Indonesian, Italian and Murdoch University Spanish Language Teachers Adelaide, September 2009
    46. 46. Credits  Where credits are not given the images are my own. People are pictured with permission. Twitter screenshots from and Tweetie on my iPhone. Slides 1 & 67: Background from Other backgrounds: Slides 7-9: Slide 10: Slide 11: Slide 12: Photo by Kate Reitzenstein Slide 15: ; Slide 16: Slide 18: ‘All about me’ Uploaded on December 27, 2008 by mtsofan to Flickr Slide 19: ‘PLE as subset of PLN’ Uploaded on December 18, 2008 by catspyjamasnz to Flickr Slide 20: ‘Twitter Bandwagon’ Uploaded on October 15, 2008 by Matt Hamm to Flickr Slide 21: Slides 24, 26, 27, 44, 49, 65: MinXuan Lee Used with permission. Slides 28: Twitter Mosaic Slides 33, 54 & 62: Slides 35, 36, 57: Twitter Friendwheel Slide 40: ‘Information hydrant’ Uploaded on June 20, 2008 by Will Lion to Flickr Slides 45 & 46: Slide 48: Slide 53: Slide 55: Slide 59: Slide 60: Slide 61: Slide 66: ‘Travelling feet: Beyond fallen flowers & grass…’ Uploaded on January 6, 2008 by psycherika to FLickr Slide 66: Betcher, C., & Lee, M. (2009). The Interactive Whiteboard Revolution: Teaching With IWBs. Camberwell, Vic: ACER Press.