Teachers, Are You Using Twitter Right?

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If you are still using Twitter to share with your followers what movie you see today, then you desperately need to read this.

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Twitter is much more than a social media for us to see what is going on with Miley Cyrus, or to update our daily life with friends/online strangers.

Attention,teachers! It can be and should be used as a professional development tool and be integrated into the classroom.

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In the classroom of Enrique Legaspi, Twitter is a apart of the class other than a distraction to the students. He uses Twitter as a way for students to answer questions, giving feedback. Rather than considering Twitter as a bad thing, utilize it! Apart from adding more fun element into the class and help students stay focused, Twitter helps the students find their voices, build their identifications. It is a great tool in get the shy ones involved. “Twitter did become this paperless way of sharing what is going on in their mind” said Legaspi.

That is not all the magic that Twitter can do. Teachers can use it as a professional development tool. What is particularly good about using it as a  platform for educators to communicate is that it avoids the default of information gathering which is the limitation we get from our own flock. Take the Twitter chat as an example, you have no idea who will be there and who you are talking to. It could be someone in your town, or someone outside the country. It is inspiring and exciting as we are not talking to the people we are familiar with. In addition, it is easy to find information we need using the hash tag. Hash tag is a powerful way to follow conversations on a topic of interest. Twitter can also be used to keep track of your posts, it forms the relevant tweets into a stream which is easy to retrieve in the future.

There is more you should know to use Twitter or a professional development purpose. It may not be as simple as you think.

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10 Tips for teachers using Twitter as a professional development tool  

1- Create a strong profile page

2- Keep  your profile  professional

3- Proper use of etiquette

4- Know who to follow

5- Use Hashtags

6- Use Twitter Tools

7- Use Twitter for research

8- Share what you read

9- Use Twitter for Teaching and Learning

10- More creative ways to use Twitter

I hope this post can do you some help, free feel to share your ideas with me. Now, go Tweet!

Twitter Chat Adventure

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I attended the twitter chat #ELLchat today. As a new twitter user, it was quite the adventure. As Twitter is not welcomed in where I’m from, I had no idea how to use it to my needs. After looking around and stumbling into things, I found the similarity of it with Weibo( a Chinese version of Twitter). They have basically the same functions. I have been a user of Weibo for years without any experience in group chat. There is a reason or that.

The theme for the twitter chat this time is culturally responsive teaching. The discussion was more intense and heated than I expected. A lot of interesting ideas and insightful opinions. It was a very interesting experience. I was able to interact with ESL teachers worldwide! I enjoyed getting new information and surprises from people outside my flock. It is a way to improve yourself efficiently, gain new knowledge and cognition. The chat organizers Karen Nemeth and Judie Haynes are very inspiring educators and very open to different thoughts. They created a very friendly environment for other Twitter users. One thing that I did not like at first was the word limit of your Tweets. But then I realize it is actually not a bad thing. It forces us to express our ideas in a concise way makes it clear and simple for people in the chat so the chat can get going smoothly. After all, we are not doing a seminar or a forum. It is short, fast but still have the essence. Therefore, efficiency is achieved.

However, I think apart from attending the live chat, by going through the earlier posts, you can also again a lot. Using the hash tag, it is easier to locate the information we are interested in. The hash tag is a solution to the problem that we are restrained in our own flock when it comes to information gathering. Simply put in the topic you are looking for, numbers of results come out, and they are not just from your friends or the people you follow. The records of the chats are saved and tagged so it is easy to retrieve. You don’t need to worry about missing the chat once or twice. Other than using the Twitter chat as a live discussion platform, I see more benefits and values using it as a resource where you find information and get inspired. I found out about several good websites for ESL teachers, and the app “scoop it” which is an awesome source for teachers and educators. And from others’ conversations, I learned a meaning of the Bammy Awards which I should know but have never heard of before.

I can definitely see myself attending more of these twitter chats in the future. It is a fun and efficient way to learn more about my field.

Epals – Where Learners Connect

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On ePals, you can do challenges, join a classroom, starting/joining projects and enjoy learning center.

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There are many interesting projects, such as collaborative detective story – a community-inspired project focusing on improving students reading and writing ability. I find the project very inspiring as it makes it fun for the students. Usually, students prefer listening and speaking classes as reading and writing are boring. But this project may let them fall in love with reading and writing. I believe that it is important to make the learning process fun for the students and the ePals can serve as  the source of inspirations!

On ePals, you can join classroom from almost every country in the world and get inspired. I found this Lisa Dream classroom where they have done projects with global students with email exchange and Skype chat. Through this, we can have access to different cultures and teaching methods worldwide and use it in our own classrooms.

In the leaning center, there is a game&quizzes section where students can learn and play at the same time.

In general, ePals delivers the idea of fun learning and connections. “Students are motivated to learn through experience, and with ePals I’ve introduced an experience beyond the classroom.”

Classroom 2.0

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Classroom 2.0 is a net work group for educators over the world focusing on social media and participating technologies in the classroom. I think it is very useful as teaching should keep up with the technologies. Since there is a lot more we can do in the classroom, we should know the new possibilities and make full use of them.

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As you can see in the picture above, there are several sections: forum, members, groups, recordings and so on.

The forum is a very good platform for the members to connect and interact. There is a introduction thread where newly joined members post a brief introduction of themselves. The groups, on the other hand,  make it easier or us to focus on our interest and needs. I, for example, joined the ESL and technology.

Check it out now. 

A Learner is Like A Flower

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Learners nowadays are different from those 20 years ago. Before we had technology, learning was pretty much restricted and the knowledge lasted way longer than it is now. Information development back then was slow. Now, with technologies, the information develops rapidly and learning is a life time career. A learner is no longer like a sponge: you put the sponge in the water of knowledge and it sucks as much as it can and that’s it. A learner is like a flower: it needs water constantly or it will die. Unlike a sponge, a flower takes in the water and crave for more.

“What we know today is not as important as our ability to continue to stay current.” Knowledge changes rapidly, if we don’t keep up with the pace, we will become obsolete in our particular field. That is why I see a learner as a a flower that needs water everyday rather than a sponge that needs water one time. Receiving knowledge continuously makes the flower thrive.

The key principle of learning is to stay current. The technologies enable us to form networks that make it possible for us to stay current and continue to study. “The network is the learning.” There are ways to connect with others naturally, for example, through dialogues. With the help of technology, we are now able to connect with people not just near us, but around the world. The magic of network is not just to enable us to connect worldwide. Whenever someone adds a new note in the network, it amplifies the whole. Learning now is no longer a individual activity. It is connected with others.

Diigo? Or Pinterest?

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Diigo and Pinterest are both awesome tools to use. But which one is better?

If you take into consideration the efficiency of the tool, I would say Diigo has an edge. I fell in love with it after I watched the introduction video. Personally, I am a bit old-schooled, and prefer doing thing in the traditional way. For example, I would prefer to have a paper-based book than a electronic version. The reason is that with a book in my hand, I can write down notes and highlight the part I like. With electronic books, you can’t do that. But here comes the solution, Diigo. It makes the impossible possible. Basically what it does is to enable you the ability to use the online material as it is printed out in your hand. Let’s not talk about the eco-friendly issue here, but how convenient and fast it is. Organizing the references and documents is such a chore. But by using the tags, everything you saved are marked instead of in a chaos. You can retrieve the material that you want by clicking on the tags. That is why I give Diigo more credit.

What I appreciate in both of them is that it is sociable. There are interactions. They both create a community where people can share with one another. That is important because sharing and discussing with others is one of the ways for us to learn and get inspirations.

I seleted two pics that can present the features of Diigo and Pinterest the best.

logo_diigoThe realization of making electronic books feel like paper-based is demonstrated in the Picture. We can stick notes, highlight and add bookmarks. When we don’t have the time to read something interesting we find now, mark it as read later. And it is easy to see how many of them have been read and how many haven’t. It is great for people are not so organized.

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I am not saying everyone uses Diigo now and forget about Pinterest. It depends on your own reference and needs. As you can see in the picture, is it very good for visual learners. What I like about Pinterest is its layout and pictures really draw my attention and help me stay focused. It is less boring than just pages of pages of documents.

I will absolutely keep using them and I recommend them to my readers who haven’t tried them out. Pinterest might be popular among young people already to share common interests in life, but it is a great idea to use it to serve as a source to help with your work and career.

How Exciting Is the Teaching Revolution?

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What is the best way to learn? Is it sitting in the classroom for 8 hours a day?Does everyone have the same learning pace? Do all the students understand the same amount of knowledge at the same day?

Is teaching, like math, has one right answer that would never change? After watching Educational change challenge, I can’t help but asking myself those questions.

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Technologies change people’s life in every aspect. The use of the internet has made a number of impossibles possible. Social media is about people. We may not realize, but social media is leading a revolution in our daily life. When we go to a restaurant, instead of using a menu made of paper, we take our order by an ipad. Social media is a power to connect the world together. And, by using technologies, we can have a one-world school house.

Every morning, after rolling out of bed, we grab the newspaper while drinking our first coffee and see what is happening around us or in the world. Everyday, we check our Facebook and see what is new with our friends.Every night, we watch the local news on TV while having dinner and see what is going on in the town. It is all about the update. In the 21st century, we need to update ourselves constantly. The teaching methods should be catching up, as well.

A brick phone can not survive among smartphones.

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Social media revolution made me realize our life now is much more different from the way it used to be. We are changing. The way we communicate, the way we deal with problems, the way we think are all influenced by technologies. Watching the video Teachers exist in the space where students exist. Education is about relevance. If we teachers don’t keep up with the changes and apply technologies in class, we will loose the relevance which greatly damages the motivation and interest we can create in the students. Now, we do not have to be in a classroom to learn. Actually, it can be anywhere, your bedroom, on the way to work, if there is technology, there is a way.

Thereby, the science revolution brings along the teaching revolution. Teaching is not like Math, it is always changing and updating. Isn’t it exciting that teachers can always learn more and grow into better ones? Isn’t exciting that so many boundaries we had before are now broken? Isn’t it exciting that now with technology, we can do more for our students and make education more efficient and more fun?