Using Twitter as an MFL teacher
Imagine a professional environment where the people you connect with want to share. They share the best of what they know already and new information they find out. Imagine you were to ask as specific language question to current teachers, live time such as… any ideas for teaching KS4 French, conditional tense and within minutes you are receiving ideas, resources and a discussion has started on how best to teach it. This is the world of Twitter.
Admittedly before I had any idea this community existed, Twitter was merely another social network for people who were interested in what celebrities were eating for breakfast. Although that side does exist, it is almost like a CPD secret with a goldmine of resources and connections. At the time of writing I currently follow over 1000 educators/ICT and education specialists, at least half of which are language specialists mainly from the UK but also from around the globe. I am also part of the fantastic community of the MFL Twitterai who tweet daily an abundance of quality information.
Why I’m a fan of using Twitter for my Personal Learning Network
- It’s free
- It’s on the edge, real time, not just tweeting about what’s happening now but what’s going to happen, new ways of learning that are being formed through communities of like-minded people
- Everyone is there to connect and share ideas about common goals
- Using the # hashtag means you can follow specific events eg #LW2012 (Language World) or specific chat groups like #langchat or #edtech
- Developing professional links with local and worldwide teachers – ‘flash meetings’ are held to discuss current topics such as GCSE controlled assessments
- Everyone is very generous
- Not just language skills but ICT, leadership, whatever topics you want
Where else could you find all this on your fingertips??
I have learned so much from my fellow tweeters during my NQT year, my ICT knowledge and implementation in the classroom has rocketed! I am using QR codes in class, I have learned how to make my own student blog, upload revision videos, and so much more. The resources that people share really are limitless and it’s great to be using technology in an effective way that the students can relate to.
There is a word of warning though, the stream of ideas, articles to read, resources to download, people to connect with, is endless and there at any time of day or night! I use Tweetdeck to manage who and what I follow but generally I just dip in and out of it to see what’s going on. If you evaluate the content you come across from the perspective of ‘will this improve the students learning’ then it’s easier to spot the quality resources from the fancy gimmicks.
Top twitter tips to building your Personal Learning Network and maximising your time on twitter.
- Protect your tweets so you decide who follows you
- Create a professional bio so people can see you are an educator
- Download Tweetdeck – so much easier to manage your tweets if you are following a lot of people
- Use and follow hashtags to avoid conversation
- Become part of the network – share your own links and thank people by retweeting their links
- Create lists ‘best of’ Twitterers so you don’t miss out on the quality resources