Friday, 29 July 2011

Twitter mania: why join the craze!

When I talk to other teachers and teacher trainees about how I think they should get a Twitter account, I can see that most of them have more or less the same ideas about it:

It’s difficult!
Actually it isn’t! Once you get the basics, you realize it all comes down to choosing whose ideas you’d like to read and which things you find interesting enough to share with your followers! Of course there are a couple of Twitter-specific tools and it has its own language (follow, RT, # and other terms), but they are actually quite simple once you get used to them. Here’s a very good  introduction (which I got from TW, of course =)

It’s overwhelming!
I have to agree here. It’s overwhelming, especially at the beginning. There’s so much going on on Twitter! So many interesting people, so many resources shared, so many webinars and chats offered. You have to choose! There’s no way you can profit from it all. So choose!

I can’t see how it helps profession-wise!
It depends on who you follow really. We are dealing with social media here, so the social part is really important. But the treasure of Twitter lies in the fact that you get to interact, share ideas, help and being helped by like-minded professionals around the world, people you would never have access to otherwise!

I’ve only been on Twitter for some months now and, I must admit, I’m more of a lurker for the time being, although I’m gradually starting to take part in conversations, discussions and the like. However, I feel Twitter has started to change my career! I learnt so many new things, tried so many new tools, read so many thought-provoking discussions and reflections! Here are some examples of the things I learnt in the last couple of weeks only:

@edutopia compiled this great list of online tools and resources that kept me busy for some days.

@Onestopenglish provided a link to an archive of free online games and activities for different levels.

@SimpleK12 offered several webinar sessions on great tools to integrate technology to the classroom.

@TeachingEnglish provided a link to a range of free ELT publications by the British Council.

@The ConsultantsE tweeted an amazing list of TED talks categorized by speaker, title and summary.

I read a fabulous presentation posted by @tombarrett: "37 ways to use Search Engines in the Classroom"

Thanks to @harrisonmike I got to know that many of the IATEFL BESIG presentations had been uploaded here

And the list goes on!
Twitter can totally transform your professional life!

Comments on your Twitter experience most welcome!


  1. I wholeheartedly agree, Barbara. Twitter is a phenomenal tool for connecting with new colleagues and sharing ideas and I'm very grateful to @keithbarrs for convincing me to get into it! Maybe we should set ourselves the challenge of every teacher getting one more teacher involved in Twitter.

    The real challenge is how to get more people connected. Blogging and tweeting about how good and useful Twitter is, is unfortunately mostly just preaching to the already-converted for the most part. Any ideas?

    There seems to be a lot out there for learners of English (as well as us learners of teaching :-P) so I put a small list of recommendations together for English Language Learners ( Hope you don't mind me sharing the link here Barbara.

  2. Hi Gordon! Yes, I know what you mean. BUT I have the feeling that teachers and teacher trainees in Argentina are FAR more reluctant to Twitter than they are to blogs and Facebook. So I talk about Twitter here AND on Facebook (haha) and face-to-face whenever I get the chance! I agree that someone who reads this has at least a positive attitude towards Internet and social media though. Some teachers don't! It gets really tough there!

    Sure you can share the link here! I'll have a look.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Not just teachers and not just in Argentina I'm coming to believe. I recently tried to extol the benefits of Twitter to a non-teacher friend of mine back in Britain. She was very reluctant as she didn't want to "waste more time on a social networking site". Funnily enough, I never think of Twitter as being in the same category as Facebook.

    To be honest, I don't even know of Twitter is as widely exploited by other professions as it is by teachers... but I reckoned that it couldn't hurt to try. Like you, Twitter has phenomenally changed my professional life.

    For the teachers/trainees you referred to who are more comfortable with blogs and Facebook, I would say that having a blog and not having Twitter to put it out there and get it seen by more people is ridiculous.

    Or from the other end of things, Twitter is probably the #2 way to FIND cool, new blogs (like I found yours, Barbara). #1 is probably reading through people's lists of favourite blogs on their own blogs.

  4. Absolutely! I have the feeling that Facebook IS more on the social side. What I like about it is that I can contact more people from Argentina (people that many times you know in the real world), and get a feeling of what is going on here. Are you on Feacebook?

    When I mentioned blogs I didn't mean blogging but reading other people's blogs. It's like many teachers are used to reading what others think or share on blogs but they are still reluctant to enter the "world" of TW! And yes, I think you're right that TW might not be so popular in other professions either (except media and showbiz, they of course love it!).
    Great conversation Gordon! Besos!

  5. I really got into the ESL/EFL Twitter scene last year but eventually started feeling way too overwhelmed, and actually it got a bit guilt-inducing, as in "why aren't I doing all of these fabulous online things that other teachers are?" New school year, new resolutions: I hope to get back into it and see if I can tame the beast.

  6. Thanks for your comment Betty! Yes, I know what you mean. I feel the same when I see the number of HOURS some people seem to spend online. But I guess each of us has to find how it works for us, don't we? It's like love haha. For me it's great to be talking to you (you in Aveyron, me in Buenos Aires)! It's definetely one of the pros of social media. See you around!!!