Monday, January 4, 2016

Google+ and Twitter: two powerful PD tools

Some time ago, in 2010, I read a thesis paper about the use of Twitter for teachers' professional development and it got me interested in learning about this social networking tool. In that moment, I opened my Twitter account and started using it clumsily. I started to follow some people and Twitting about silly things. However, nowadays, Twitter and G+ have become my greatest Professional Development allies and in this post I'm going to share how they got to be so with you....

1. By following the "stars":
I'm not talking about Hollywood stars, I'm talking about the academic "celebrities" that make us want to be better professionals every day. Be it @chemicalsams @JeffGoins or @skrashen, now it is easy for any teacher to follow the authorities in different fields and to see the academic world through their eyes. By following experts in my fields (ELT, flipped learning, Educational Technology, Writing, etc.) I have been able to learn about their ideas and positions about current topics, to read their blogs, to find texts they recommend, to know about different world events (by @OzMark17) or simply to know where they are. Some of these experts are fabulous curators, as well, helping the regular teacher look in the right direction when interested in reading about the latest trends in education, teaching and learning. 

2. By learning about tools every day:
As a member of the global Educational Technology community, it is my responsibility to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and their uses in education. It is shameful not to know what's hot now in terms of technology. But, how can a teacher learn about the latest tools to teach English when she is not teaching it? I mean, as a teacher trainer and without having students constantly ask about tools it is really hard to know what "kids are using these days". However, following sites like @Edutopia and Mindshift (@MindShiftKQED) on Twitter and Google apps for Education on G+ have really helped me stay tuned with the latest trends and the most useful learning tools available. They even inspired me to work on this blog!

3. By hyperlinking and hypelearning:
Even though it might turn a bit hectic, hyperlinking is one of the best qualities of online reading (in my opinion). It is important to learn to take advantage of the myriad of readings available out there. For that reason, following your interests will spark your curiosity and take you in a non-return way to constant learning (or as I like to call it: hyperlearning).

In my opinion, Twitter and G+ are two great professional development tools. They have ignited my curiosity and taken me through paths I wouldn’t have found otherwise.  Have you found other ways these two social networks potentialize your teaching?



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