Friday, 22 October 2010

Why is Twitter great?


10 days ago or so, while having my breakfast, I was checking my tweets.  The tweets that come in overnight are mostly from the USA on one side of the world and Australia on the other.  One of the Australian MFL Twitterati who I follow, @ykombi, had tweeted:


I had made a table comparing the French and English school systems for a podcast about La Rentrée, and so tweeted back:

Almost immediately I had a reply.


@ykombi sent me her email address via Twitter DM (Direct Message) and I emailed her the file, which she was able to adapt to the Australian system, as it is pretty similar to the English one.

That's just one example of why Twitter is great.  You can ask something, however complex, and someone somewhere will do their best to help you out.  The MFL Twitterati are so generous and supportive.

Then a few days later I read this tweet from the wonderful @wizenedcrone:


Having spoken to @bootleian via Flashmeetings and corresponded via email, I am a big fan, and cheekily asked @wizenedcrone if I could be a temp in her department so that I could attend the CPD day.  And today I did attend the CPD day!  It was not only an opportunity to meet up again with several of the north-east Twitterati, not only a chance to meet the great @bootleian, but also a chance to learn lots of new ideas and to meet and network with new MFL colleagues in the north-east.  All in all a very profitable way to spend my day off.  And another example of why Twitter is great.  You get to find out about events that are happening not only in your area but all over the place.  Even if you can't attend in person you can often attend virtually or catch up with the presentations afterwards via services such as Slideshare or peoples' blogs.

Twitter often gets a negative press, with many people thinking that it's just daft people telling anyone who will listen what they have had for their breakfast.

But for me it's much more than that.  When I worked as a secondary AST, I was expected to at the forefront of MFL teaching, but rarely had the opportunity to find out what that forefront looked like.  In my current role, I need to be at the cutting edge of primary language teaching.  Thanks to my Twitter PLN I find out all I need to know and more.

So that's why I think that Twitter is great.  What about you?


11 comments:

  1. In my school, with its annual INSET budget of three rich tea biscuits and a crinkled Tesco voucher, the ONLY way for me to stay current (or indeed ahead of the game...) is via the 24-hr, non-stop CPD flow we like to call the #mfltwitterati. Plus @mrsstephenfry is very amusing, and I get to rant politely at @nick_clegg... So what's not to like? ;)

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  2. I agree - Twitter is great -yet I still meet a lot of people who just "don't get" it - I think, as you say, because of its negative press: those who tell us in boring detail what they had for breakfast or else those who think it's for following celebs. The randomness of the tweets (which I like) puts some off also unless they get an app that will sort them. I have learned more from Twitter than any conference or online forum - it's my first port of call when I need to find something out and, for the #mfltwitterati it's the easiest and quickest way to get in touch with them via DM. Vive Twitter :)

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  3. I totally agree Clare. One of the greatest strengths an MFL department can have is a culture of sharing. I am sure we have all worked with colleagues who do and don't share and collaborate, and have seen the difference it makes. The MFL Twitterati often remark on what a great MFL Department we would make together and it's true! The open, sharing nature of the web combined with fantastic professionals with the right attitude provides us with an incredible source of support, advice and resources to which we can all contribute. I know it has transformed my learners' experiences, so when people laugh at me for usin Twitter, I know who has the last laugh....

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  4. Twitter is the one thing I could not survive without in my day-to-day teaching now, and that is in the space of just a few short years. Not only is the CPD invaluable, but I now consider the MFL Twitterati true friends. They are there for me when I need advice, they share resources, they share my sense of humour, they understand where I am coming from. Without Twitter and this group, I would not be the teacher I am today.

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  5. I agree also - it was so useful to find that you had exactly what I needed to teach my lesson. I find it continually surprising how open my Twitter colleagues are to sharing resources. Or perhaps that is the nature of a Twitter user? It's great!

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  6. I now feel slightly irritated with my own rather glib initial response, having read the rather more considered opinions of my MFL Twitterati friends! Yes, all the above is true - and when I was off-sick for two months last autumn, one of the things I missed most, and which helped me get going again, was the camaraderie of my PLN. Vous rocher, les gars, as they say in BabelFrench!

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  7. Twitter is fantastic because it gives you access to so many inspirational people who often don't even realise they are. I am always humbled by how intellectually generous our MFL'ers group is. This helps you grow as a person first and that has to have a long-term impact on your teaching. Twittering what you have had for tea? You can, but you don't have to...

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  8. How else would I keep tabs on what you and all the great people in the comments above get up to?

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  9. Thank you so much for your comments, everyone. I felt that my original post only scratched the surface of why Twitter is great, and was hoping that people would add comments to give a more rounded picture. Twitter is so great that we all obviously feel passionate about it and the benefits that it can bring.

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  10. I have only been blogging since August and I am learning so much from reading blogs such as yours. So..merci milles fois. Twitter here I come!

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