I’m now back home after a flying visit to Samsun on the Black Sea Coast of Turkey for the 4th Annual TED ELT Conference. My workshop was on using Twitter as a professional development tool, thus putting a twist on the conference theme of ‘English Beyond the Walls’ by talking about what teachers can do for themselves beyond conferences and seminars.
I started the session by asking everyone to write what they loved about teaching on a Post-It note and then had them all stick it up on the wall (so, you could say we started with professional development on the conference walls)! They then circulated, reading the notes and copying the other ideas they liked onto other Post-Its before adding them to their wall space. In effect, they were doing ‘paper tweets’ (and re-tweets) as they could only write a limited amount on each note. I also pointed out how they all had ideas to share and perspectives to offer.
I used the ‘Twitter in Plain English’ video to introduce the concept of tweeting (only one person in the room had used twitter before) and asked them to come with ideas for how teachers might make use of it. I sensed a bit of scepticism until I showed them the twitter stream on Tweet Deck and they saw that teachers around the world from Argentina to Australia were saying hi to us. If that warmed them up, the video and audio recordings I had collected prior to the session really impressed them and by the end of the session, there were several of them saying they would sign up for Twitter when they got home (only two so far but it’s early days)!
Overall, I’d say it went well. I learned from my session at ISTEK and set the desks up in groups of 4 which made the discussion parts much easier. Everyone seemed impressed by the huge range of different activities Twitter facilitates and the freedom of choice it potentially offers to those prepared to put the time in. The only problem was time - 50 minutes (45 actually due to late arrivals) is nowhere near enough to do justice to what a PLN can do for a teacher but at least we made a start.
Here’s my Prezi from the session and below, you’ll find a link to the Google doc I made to go with it:
Thanks to everyone who made recordings, tweeted in and attended!