In light of the current economic downturn and the difficulty teachers have of getting out of school to attend courses, I felt it was apposite at this year's Language World to promote the myriad ways colleagues can improve their own continuing professional development by taking advantage of powerful online tools such as Twitter to nurture a personal learning network.
In an ideal world, it would be great to receive training during the school day in a centre or hotel paid for by your school, but in the current climate, these opportunities are simply becoming less and less viable. Finding alternative sources of CPD is becoming increasingly important and teachers need to be more pro-active if they want to keep up with the latest developments in their field.
Enter the MFL Twitterati. Now I understand that Twitter may not be for everybody and there are concerns about it from some quarters, but more and more teachers are realising the power it can have to make connections with other like-minded colleagues all over the world. According to a crowdsourcing experiment I did earlier this year, language teachers particularly value the support Twitter offers them, as well as the ideas and inspiration they receive.
Twitter certainly presents a golden opportunity for networking and finding authentic materials that can impact on the classroom. Language teachers Caleb Bloodworth, Catherine Ritz and Val McIntyre have all blogged about their own experiences and plans in this area recently. Worth checking out too is this post Twitter tips for language teachers which includes a podcast of a Skype presentation I gave to a group of language teachers in Australia. Thanks again to @mrsangell for the opportunity I heard about on ... Twitter!
Here is a slidecast of my presentation as well as a summary of all the links I refer to.
- Continuing professional development is hard to access
- Language Trends survey 2010
- Links CPD survey: teachers go online but still need face-to-face contact
- The networked teacher
- The rise and rise of the MFL Twitterati
- Coming to terms with Twitter
- Piggybacking on Twitter
- MFL Twitterers list
- WL Twitterers list
- Seesmic Desktop
- How to bookmark Twitter Links
- Friend or Follow
- Manage Flitter
- What does the MFL Twitterati mean to you?
- The MFL Times
- Ukedtech list
- Ukedchat wiki
- Ukedchat blog
- Ukedchat daily paper
- Using TwitterFall to get the most out of Twitter Chats
- MFL Flashmeeting
- How to videoconference with Flashmeeting
- Flash Forward
- MFL Show and Tell
- You and Yours: the follow up
- TESConnect with RSS
- Linguanet Forum
- Ning networking
- Talkabout Primary MFL Ning
- 70 tools in 70 minutes
- A – Z Internet Resources for Education
- edapp Twitter Search
- langchat Twitter Search
- CILT 14-19 Training Zone
- O2 Learn
- Add a dimension to your teaching: an introduction to language learning in Virtual Worlds
- ALL London Webinar June 2011 Report!
- SLIC conference webinar
- LARC Social Media Workshop 2011
- Primary languages podcasting, Lancashire Children's Services Authority
- MFL Sunderland podcasts
- ICT Links into Languages Conference Buzz!
- Technology in schools: Is the clock being turned back?
- The mother of invention
- ICT - Make Do and Mend
- One in three ‘overwhelmed by technology’
"We is most definitely better than me".
I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment and in these difficult economic times I think it is essential that we all explore the potential of online collaboration as a way of improving our own CPD and receive the support we all need as a profession.