Tag Archives: Twitter

Native speakerism in ELT in Australasia (#AusELT Twitter chat 1st May 2016)

 

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In this post, Agi Bodis outlines some of the issues around native-speakerism in preparation for our upcoming chat. This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the summary.

 

 

Some of you may remember that an ad for a pronunciation course recently created an interesting discussion on our Facebook page. The course claims to help ‘overseas-born professionals’ fine-tune their pronunciation to improve employment opportunities. It is interesting to note that the word ‘native’ is not mentioned anywhere, but it prompted us to discuss the role of the ‘native speaker’ in ELT.

The ad addresses – or perpetuates – the so called ‘accent ceiling’ (Piller, 2011, p. 144), a boundary many L2 speakers of English experience at the workplace or when attempting to find employment in an English-speaking country. A few of us have questioned the concept of ‘native’ or ‘native-like’ accent as it appears to be a vague term, but it is still something that many students aim to achieve in order to advance professionally or avoid being judged.

So what is ‘native speakerism’? It is an ideology, a commonly held belief, which considers the native speaker as the ideal model for language use, and in ELT, ‘the expert’ when it comes to language teaching methodology as well (Holliday, 2006). The phenomenon thus has implications not only for what is taught and how it’s taught, but also who is entitled to teach the language itself.

In her recent plenary at IATEFL 2016, Silvana Richardson spoke passionately about the discrimination non-native speaker ESL teachers face and the negative impact this has on their professional identity even though the vast majority of English language teachers in the world are non-native speakers (over 80%, according to Richardson).

She questioned the legitimacy of the term ‘non-native speaker’ as it defines people by what they are not, and emphasised the need to shift from a native-speaker competence to a multilingual competence. She proposed that teacher trainers review their programs to make sure these issues are addressed. She also urged teachers to show their support at work and beyond, and join advocacy groups. One such group she mentioned was TEFL Equity Advocates, whose founder, Marek Kiczkowiak (@MarekKiczkowiak), will be joining us in our Twitter chat.

Another related issue that has come up on our Facebook page is the effect of the market: “students want native speakers” or a certain variety of English. Richardson addressed this issue too pointing out that from research it seems that students value professional qualities more than nativeness.

Join us to discuss any of the following points related to native speakerism on Twitter on Sunday 1 May 8:30-9:30 pm AEST (This chat has now taken place. Click here to read the summary)

  • The role of ‘the native speaker’ in teaching materials and/or language testing
  • The market: student expectations regarding learning a certain variety of English (including accent); expectations regarding native speaker teachers
  • NESB ESL teachers: any experience being employed as a NESB teacher; any experience with NESB teachers
  • Teacher training and the native speaker teacher

Looking forward to our discussion!

Links

Silvana Richardson’s plenary at IATEFL 2016: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2016/session/plenary-silvana-richardson

Interview with Burcu Akyol and Marek Kiczkowiak on the issue of non-native speakers in ELT – at IATEFL 2016: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2016/interview/interview-burcu-akyol-and-marek-kiczkowiak

TEFL Equity Advocates: https://teflequityadvocates.com/

Lexicallab on CELTA and the NS bias: http://www.lexicallab.com/2016/04/celta-the-native-speaker-bias-and-possible-paths-forward/

References

Holliday, A. (2006). Native-speakerism. ELT Journal: English Language Teaching Journal, 60(4), 385-387. doi:10.1093/elt/ccl030

Piller, I. (2011). Intercultural communication : A critical introduction Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

This post by Agi Bodis, @AgsBod

#AusELT chat summary: Mixed feelings about Twitter? And other social media questions (5th March 2015)

This chat took place in March 2015 and started out as a very meta chat on Twitter about Twitter. You can read a complete transcript of the chat here@sophiakhan4 got the ball rolling before the chat with a post about why Twitter had been so significant for her. It contains an interesting list of things that would never have happened without Twitter (including #AusELT) as well as some reasons why you might want to bother with Twitter if haven’t gone there yet, or if Facebook is your drug of choice.

This chat sumary is divided into two parts. In Part 1, long-time #AusELTer Kylie Tyler (@thesmylers) writes about the Twitter-related part of the chat, reflecting on her own social media journey and sharing tips on how to make it work for you. In Part 2, @sophiakhan4 summarises the later stages of the chat which dealt with social media identity and curation strategies to manage the flow of information.


Part 1: Twitter journeys and how to make it work for you

 I first joined Twitter as @thesmylers in October 2010 but I wasn’t very active and only followed a couple of my friends who’d mentioned they had a Twitter account. I didn’t really know what it meant to “follow” someone and I think I might have “tweeted” maybe twice in the first 2 years. That all changed when I saw my friend @SophiaKhan4 present a talk called The Networked Teacher with @Eslkazzyb at a PD Fest in Sydney. They introduced me to #AusELT and, through the people they followed, the wider world of ELT on Twitter. I gradually built a list of people in the industry I followed and later that year I joined in on my very first #AusELT chat. I have to say it was both overwhelming and exhilarating. I barely had time to read the new tweets that kept popping up 7-at-a-time on my screen, let alone manage to respond to any questions or comments during the hour-long chat. However, afterwards I felt a real sense of achievement and connection with people who were interested in what I was interested in and that made me feel so good! Gradually, as I lurked at the next few chats, I tweeted a comment or two, and following the many conversations became easier and less frantic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fast and furious, and I still don’t understand how some people just seem to be part of all the conversations that go on during a chat. That’s why this month’s #AusELT chat was so helpful for me and hopefully in this summary you’ll find some helpful ideas too.

This month’s chat was a small one with some of the usual suspects, as well as newcomer @angelos_bollas, taking part, and some lurkers popping in every now and then. The topic was a good one: advice for those who are new to Twitter and other social media.

What can Twitter do for you and your professional development?

Just joining Twitter and following a couple of people really won’t give you a good idea of just how much benefit it can bring to your professional learning. I read somewhere that you need to follow at least 40 people for at least 6 months before making a decision for or against the usefulness of Twitter and I have to say that I agree, although when I started out I certainly didn’t. The couple of people I followed had nothing to do with ELT and I found myself wondering what all the fuss was. It wasn’t until I started following some #AusELTers, and followed who they were following, and followed who they were following, that, over time, I started seeing the (daily) potential in Twitter. Add to that the monthly #AusELT chats and I was finally sold.

The biggest thing Twitter can offer according to #AusELTers is being able to instantly connect with professionals who share the same beliefs and practices, regardless of whether they are interstate or international. @michaelegriffin referred to a post on his blog in which he exemplified the benefits of Twitter to some colleagues. He tweeted a question and within minutes had responses from around the world appear on his Twitter feed. As well as instant responses, connections like these can lead you to ELT blogs, the latest news and research in the field, lesson ideas and general support. Several #AusELTers even mentioned having formed new friendships through making professional connections on Twitter. This is something that sets Twitter apart from other social media like Facebook and LinkedIn and #AusELTers had a bit to say about this.

Most people agreed that Twitter has the advantage of being more anonymous. @aparnajacob noted that “unfollowing [on Twitter] is not as bad as unfriending [on Facebook]”, and this is true. Newcomers to Twitter can follow and unfollow people, and comment or not, without anyone being the wiser if that’s what they want. They can “just float on the Twitter tide” as @SophiaKhan4 wrote in this month’s #AusELT chat intro here. Other differences #AusELTers mentioned were @Penultimate_K: “Twitter great for chats & quick exchange. Linkedin/Facebook for more in depth discussion”, and @SophiaKhan4: “I follow ideas on Twitter & people on Facebook – Twitter offers a wider range.”

So who do you follow and how do you manage the volume of tweets?

As @Penultimate_K noted: “It takes time to adjust to the speed of the information flow. And the conventions of Twitter.” This is important to know when you first start out. If you’re used to using Facebook, Twitter can be like entering a different world; posts limited to 140 characters, using symbols like @ and #, “retweeting” and “favouriting”, can all seem a bit like a foreign language. But @michaelegriffin had some good advice for this: “one thing I think was helpful for me on Twitter was not to follow too many people at first. I added more as I got accustomed to the feed.”

Start by following some #AusELTers like @SophiaKhan4, @michaelegriffin, @cioccas, @Penultimate_K, and @forstersensei. Then, see who they’re following and from there follow who you’re interested in. Some recommendations from #AusELTers of people to follow were: @AnneHendler, @nathanghall, @TheSecretDoS, @Ashowski, @teflerinha, @HadaLitim, @michaelegriffin, @Larryfelazzo, ‪@oyajimbo, and institutions/associations like @MacmillanELT@TheConsultantsE @Edudemic @TeachingEnglish‪@English_Aus‪, @acereduau, @VocEdAustralia, @NCVER, @RITCWA and ‪@HeutagogyCoP‪ .

Once you’re following more than a few people, the volume of tweets coming through to your Twitter feed can be overwhelming. Apart from being selective about who you follow or going for periodic culling (my technique until now!), here are a few less drastic suggestions from #AusELTers – and remember, as @SophiaKhan4 said, “Twitter is a garden – you need to cultivate it to the shape you want.”

  • Favourite – @Penultimate_K recommends “using the ‘favourite’ function as a kind of bookmark.” “Favouriting” a tweet saves it in your favourites list which you can access at any time. This is a great way to save your reading for a time that suits you.
  • Mute – Muting people can unclutter your Twitter feed by stopping their tweets from showing on your feed. Muting a user doesn’t unfollow them and you can unmute them at any time. Details on how to mute can be found here.
  • Lists – These help you to filter your tweets into categories. You can create private lists of your own or join other people’s public lists. @aparnajacob said: “I enjoy sorting through a list of only lesson ideas for class or PD. You can customise your twitter feed.” @SophiaKhan4 agrees: “I follow a LOT of people – but some quite different pies (to have a finger in). Lists can help with that.” Twitter explains how to make and use lists here.

For practical info on how to use Twitter for PD and participating in #AusELT chats visit the #AusELT Twitter page. You can also access the #AusELT 1-page guide on how to get started with Twitter which includes a “starter” list of people to follow.


Part 2: Social media identity and managing the flow of information

Do you need to have different social media personas (personal and professional)?

 @sophiakhan said she felt stuck with two identities – one for family and friends and one for work purposes. “I would bore all the teachers with mummy and kids stuff and vice versa if I mixed…” @aparnajacob also felt conflicted and cited this as a reason for considering having two Facebook accounts. After all, she said, “Who wants to hear about your work life?”

Of course we all know, ahem, that having two Facebook accounts is not allowed and no one does it. But is there anther way? Echoing the earlier conversation on using lists on Twitter, @michaelegriffin said “I know some folks that use lists/groups well on FB so their non-teaching friends don’t get swamped with ELT”. A few of us were a bit in awe of that and wanted tutorials – though both @michaelegriffin and @sophiakhan4 – arguably big FB users – still hadn’t got to grips with it and @sophiakhan4 thought this might be because this feature is “not obvious or user friendly.”

Having said that, many other chat participants felt it wasn’t an issue and just having one Facebook account or one Twitter account was fine. @thesmylers felt that having multiple log ins on a single account was too difficult. @Penultimate_K also added, “I connect with people [on Facebook] who may not be actual friends through groups/pages.” @angelos_bollas also said he was happy with one Facebook account – but he later admitted “my real friends & family have unfollowed me on Facebook! They can IM me so we keep in touch … plus I post in English – they are Greek and when they post something on my wall in Greek, I tell them off so … they did what they had to!”  So it could be that using different channels for different audiences is a natural evolution that suits some people. It is true that that different platforms lend themselves to certain types of posts and so tend to appeal to different sorts of people – each has a very distinct character and audience.

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cc http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidberkowitz/14897753798

 So what about LinkedIn?

While many #AusELTers thought it was worthwhile to have a LinkedIn profile, @thesmylers will find sympathy with many when she says: “I think I’m on LinkedIn but never used it”. @aparnajacob finds it “clunky”, @sophiakhan4 said she couldn’t “weed out rubbish well” and @penultimate_K wondered if “Linkedin makes it harder to be selective in order to tempt you to a paid account.”

And Google+?

Again people often seemed to have profiles that they did not use much. @Penultimate_K said “I could never get into Google+ – not sure why. It just didn’t appeal to me as a channel” and @Angelos_bollas commented: “Google+ looks so… old, doesn’t it?”

However, several participants were intrigued by the idea of G+ hangouts, with the end result that a week later @sophiakhan4 and @angelos_bollas actually did hang out on G+, a few weeks after their initial random meeting via an #ELChat on Twitter. And it was pretty great! Easy to use, with a lot of potential for small group meetings and…hanging out.

How do you curate useful links?

@Penultimate_K said: “choose the channel where the audience would be most appreciative of the info. Cross-post with care!” @sophiakhan4 said she felt “split over several platforms” for exactly this reason. However, other chat participants kept it simple: @thesmylers said “I only use FB and Twitter – copying links to posts across those works for me” and @Penultimate_K said: “I share on Twitter/LinkedIn. I discuss on the Facebook group” She also added that “FB (whether we love it or hate it) is really great! And searchable!” – however, I would add that while a group page, such as #AusELT, is searchable, if you are curating links on your personal profile page or your business page, you cannot search, you just need to keep scrolling back, and this is a drawback for me.

Some other curation favourites within the group were:

  • Pinterest: looks great – user-friendly – but better for visual things (it save images as a link to other sites, so a post without an image cannot be “pinned”)
  • ScoopIt: useful for curating more information-based teaching-related links but not much social interaction
  • PearlTrees: used to allow for “mind-mappy” curation of links, where links in different categories could still be linked to each other. Now it has been revamped it looks and behaves more like a less user-friendly version of Pinterest.
  • Pocket: A favourite app for @angelos_bollas who says it is similar to Diigo but much simpler to use
  • Wikis: @angelos_bollas suggested curating via a wiki, and even sharing it for public use. He mentioned the ‘almost endless’ storage capacities of a wiki and the flexibility in the kind of content you can store (links, PDFs, pictures etc.) Many of us agreed as we actually do have an #AusELT wiki that we use to curate things of interest to our community. However, we have recently decided to transition the content over to our blog primarily due to the more attractive interface and to curate all content in one place.

And that was about all we had time for. We covered a lot of ground, and as usual I would say – find what works for you!


For a complete workshop on social media for teachers, including presenter’s notes, PowerPoint and other materials, please click here. It’s under a Creative Commons license so it is adaptable and free to use in your institution.

Mixed feelings about Twitter? Upcoming Twitter chat Thurs 5th March

© Sunil Kumar

© Sunil Kumar

Thanks to everyone who filled in the #AusELT 2015 survey – there’s still time if you would like to participate, and it only takes 5 minutes.

One of the things that is coming across is some not-unexpected mixed feelings towards Twitter.

‘Not unexpected’ because I have mixed feelings about it myself. I couldn’t give a cr@p either what Shia LeBoeuf had for dinner (was it beef?) I don’t follow Shia LeBoeuf though so I don’t have to worry about that. Also if anyone I follow turns out to be really boring, tweet nothing but food pics, make offensive remarks, try to sell me something or whatever, it’s easy. Unfollow. Never see them again. Not in my timeline.

I’ll tell you who I do follow: people who inspire me, who answer my questions, who support me, and who share some really great content to do with things that I am interested in.

I’ll scare you even more now by telling you that I wouldn’t even be in ELT now if I hadn’t discovered people through Twitter who made me feel like it was interesting again and full of questions and challenges and rewards.

I wouldn’t be able to do my current job as an editor of the English Australia Journal as I wouldn’t have access to such a range of amazing, creative and thought-provoking ELT professionals from around the world, and I wouldn’t know what people are talking about, what new ideas are being discussed, what controversies have been raised.

I wouldn’t be able to share so many incredibly useful sites, posts, videos, apps and more with my students because I just wouldn’t have discovered them.

Also, #AusELT wouldn’t exist. Even though the teachers who originally started it were from very different parts of a HUGE region, with very different backgrounds, experiences and institutions, we were able to find each other on Twitter in a way that just can’t happen if your contacts are limited to a particular school, state, specialty etc.

It’s OK if you don’t want to join Twitter. I love (and hate) Facebook just as much, and it can offer many of the same things only without that 140 character limit. But in a nutshell where Twitter differs is this:

  • you create/curate your OWN network rather be part of a shared group. The range of interests, geographical locations, personality types etc is entirely up to you.
  • you always have unlimited reading material, exactly tailored to your interests, for when you are on the train, in a waiting room etc. – all without making any effort whatsoever.
  • you have zero obligation to ever say anything to anyone on Twitter. Anyone can follow anyone, anyone can unfollow anyone, no one knows if you’ve ‘seen’ anything or not…you can just float on the Twitter tide…
  • …but if you do start interacting with like-minded folk, as time goes on, your random connections (“hey – great post!”) can evolve into amazing friendships-with-people-you-have-never-met. And sometimes you even get to meet those people.

So that’s how I feel about it, but everyone’s experience is different, so please do share yours in the comments!

And as it happens, this Thursday 5th March, as on the first Thursday of every month, #AusELT is holding a Twitter chat at 8.30 pm Sydney time. To check the time where you are, click here.

This particular chat (unusually) has no specified topic, so we can see where the conversation takes us.

If you are interested in Twitter and would like to dip your toe in the water then please come along. It’s not as hard as you might think – download the #AusELT 1-page guide to Twitter here.

Old hands, if you would like to ‘bring a friend’, this could be a good opportunity.

New chatters – come and ask anything you like.

As a teacher I am physically unable not to have a plan B for a ‘lesson’ so my admittedly rather weak back-up plan is that we also take this opportunity to swap ideas on any nuggets of TEFL gold we have come across recently or come back to frequently. This could be things like

  • websites
  • recorded webinars
  • apps
  • useful/interesting blogs or particular blog posts
  • links to particular lesson plans/activities
  • online videos
  • and so on

If you wanted to prepare to share all you would need to do is get a few links ready to cut and paste, but no prep is necessary. Feel free to just lurk (lurking is a very valid activity!! Just ask Etienne Wenger.)

So here’s hoping I am not on my own on Thursday night – come by and say hi!

This post by @sophiakhan4

Inaugural #AusELT slowburn

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Inspired, as ever, by our #KELTchat colleagues, we’ve decided to shamelessly steal try out their “slowburn” idea for our next Twitter chat.

This means instead of the usual 1-hour format, we are spreading out over a whole 12 hours, starting at 10am and ‘officially’ closing at 10pm Sydney time.

The idea is that more of us will be able to access the chat instead of always missing it due to class/train/timezone clashes. It will also be less chaotic more relaxed than a 1-hour chat where the tweets are flying and nobody really knows what’s going on till the summary comes out (much as we love that type of chat too!) People can dip in and dip out, comment, ask and respond, whenever suits them over the 12-hour period, and hopefully we’ll still get the same great range of ideas, resources and food for thought.


So, our first slow burn will take place on Thursday 3rd April 2014, 10am-10pm, on the topic of EXTENSIVE READING.?????????????

The chat won’t be moderated as such, so participants can feel free to start whatever conversation they would like on this topic, and follow the threads that are most of interest to them. Some ideas may be:

  • What is the value of extensive reading?
  • Is extensive reading something the teacher can/should address IN class? If so, how?
  • What obstacles are there to teachers setting up an ER program & how can they be overcome?
  • Are ‘graded readers’ effective? What material has been particularly successful in helping learners ‘catch’ reading in English?
  • What’s different about reading in the digital century? Is this considered by ER programs?

Do feel free to ask your own questions and share your own experiences on this topic. See you on Thursday!

Useful pre-reading/links

Extensivereading.net – full of great resources/articles

Top 10 principles for teaching extensive reading by Richard Day & Julian Bamford http://www.nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/October2002/day/day.html

Extensive reading: Why it is good for our students…and for us by Alan Maley https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/extensive-reading-why-it-good-our-students…-us


PS:  Don’t worry, we will continue to mix it up and have 1-hour chats and guest chats as well as slowburns. Some other ideas for organisation of chats have also been floated including:

–       #AusELT members choosing a topic that they are especially interested in, and taking over the set up and management of that particular chat

–       voting and scheduling all chats, of all types, at the start of the year

–       all of the above 🙂

Do you have some ideas for how chats could be run/organised? Let us know in the comments.

This post by @sophiakhan4

 

“Well done Josh! +1 for teamwork!” Gamification and Crabs – a guest post by Paul Driver

A decorator crab covered in borrowed bling. (Photo by q.phia)

A decorator crab covered in borrowed bling. (Photo by q.phia)

“Well done Josh! +1 for teamwork!”

Gamification and Crabs

By Paul Driver

http://digitaldebris.info

Nobody seems to know what gamification is. I used to think it was a pretty straightforward case of appropriating certain elements associated with games and then applying them to systems that are not games. These typically include creating multiple levels (or levelling up in gaming jargon), adding points, leader boards, virtual badges and medals. The idea is that these things all work so well in games, so why not apply them to address real-world problems? Simple.

But as the popularity of the term has spread so its meaning has become similarly smeared. It is now often used to refer to anything from game-based learning, serious games and problem-based learning to company loyalty schemes and marketing gimmicks designed to increase “customer engagement” (in other words, spending).

While video games are increasingly being embraced as valid and practical learning tools, regardless of whether they were designed with that in mind, the practice of gamifiying education seems to have thrived on this ludic zeitgeist.

One prominent example, Class Dojo, which describes itself as “Behaviour Management Software”, claims that it can “improve behavior in class with just one click of a smartphone, laptop, or tablet” . It enables teachers to send instant customizable notifications such as “Well done Josh! +1 for teamwork!”. Apparently, Generation Y is particularly responsive to such positive reinforcement.

So why is it then that so many people who appear to know an awful lot about games are so vocal in dismissing gamification as, at best, an over-hyped and misguided fad, and, at worst, an evil and manipulative strategy for getting people to do things they normally wouldn’t want to? Ian Bogost, award-winning author, theorist and game designer, has described gamification as “exploitationware” and “bullshit”.

Other high-profile members of the gaming community like Jane McGonigal, world-renowned designer of alternate reality games and best-selling author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, has distanced herself from the concept. In a 2012 NYT article she states,

“I don’t think anybody should make games to try to motivate somebody to do something they don’t want to do. If the game is not about a goal you’re intrinsically motivated by, it won’t work.”

The problem is, many of gamification’s leading proponents often produce substantial amounts of evidence to support that it works. Student grades and behaviour have been shown to improve, absenteeism has demonstrably decreased. On the surface, rewarding learners with points and badges might sound like a very pragmatic and efficient way to get them to do what we want, but is this just a short term solution? What happens when the rewards are removed? What happens when the learner is already motivated to learn or complete a task? As McGraw (1978) notes,

“Incentives will have a detrimental effect on performance when two conditions are met: first, when the task is interesting enough for subjects that the offer of incentives is a superfluous source of motivation; second, when the solution to the task is open-ended enough that the steps leading to a solution are not immediately obvious.”

Personally, I find it hard to get past the awkwardly glued-on suffix “ify”, which implies that the characteristics borrowed from games are mere adornments, designed to deviate attention or disguise something that has fundamentally remained unchanged. I’m reminded of the decorator crab, an otherwise unremarkable crustacean that sticks sedentary plants and other colourful animals to its shell in order to conceal its presence.

Similarly, although gamification may be an efficient way to produce better-behaved students who perform better in standardised tests, is it also concealing more fundamental problems with the ways we educate people? Is it being used to dress up and disguise anachronistic systems of ideas of what school and learning should be? How might gamification be used instead to challenge the status quo? Also, are teachers qualified to design gamified systems? Is it ethical to haphazardly apply operant conditioning techniques and half-understood game mechanics?

Perhaps these are some of the questions we can discuss at the next #AusELT chat?

Further reading:

The #AusELT chat with Paul Driver is on Thursday October 3, 2013, 8:30pm AEST.

Workshop: Making PLNs work for you

MC900439356-1‘Personal Learning Network’ (PLN) is a term that’s every where at the moment, but really it only captures half the story – the half that’s about the individual and what they want from their network. The other side is what the individual can contribute to their network, and how that whole network grows stronger as a result. That’s why I probably prefer the wider term ‘community of practice’:

“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger, 2006).

Sounds like a perfect description of #AusELT to me 🙂 So, anyway, when Karen Benson (@eslkazzyb) and I heard that the theme of the UECA PD Fest 2013 was communities of practice, we obviously had to put our hands up to present.

In our presentation, ‘The networked teacher: Making PLNs work for you’, we wanted to explore the notion of a PLN as a personalised community of practice. We wanted to help attendees clearly visualise their current PLN, and not only to identify ways in which it could be developed, but to get a sense of why it’s worth developing, both personally and professionally. On a more practical note, we wanted participants to be able to explore what a PLN (this one!) looks like in practice via a range of online platforms and talk over some of the issues involved. And we wanted them to leave with a) some concrete ideas for how a PLN could help them in their individual situations (you can read some of their ideas here), and b) a plan for how to get started.

We humbly offer up our workshop Powerpoint, teacher’s notes, and summary handout here in the hope that it might help people running similar sessions in future. Feel free to use it and adapt it as you wish, but please credit/link to us where appropriate and remember to retain the original copyrights on other images used. And let us know how you go!

Acknowledgements & further reading

Several #AusELTers have already presented on this topic, or something along these lines, and their advice was invaluable in putting together our session. In fact, ours looks pretty shoddy by comparison 🙂 Please take a look at these presentations if you get a chance, there’s plenty more to explore:

If you would like to learn more about communities of practice, Etienne Wenger’s website is a great place to start (the definition of communities of practice in this post is taken from there).

Jacqui McDonald at the University of Southern Queensland has done a great deal of practical exploratory work with communities of practice, and actually used #AusELT as an example in her plenary at UECA PD Fest (#pride!) It was great to see her ‘view from above’ of many of the stages we have experienced in our evolving group, and to learn what we might expect in our future. A version of her presentation is available online here and is recommended for those who want to learn more about the inner workings of communities of practice.

This post by @sophiakhan4

How to write a Twitter chat summary

Pad of Paper & PenThe aim of the summary is to unravel the big jumble that is a Twitter chat and provide a short summary of the main points not only for people who missed the chat, but also so people who were in the chat can see what they missed. In essence, this is what you do:

  1. Create (and save) a transcript, i.e.: gather up all the tweets that took place in the chat.
  2. Sift through and write a summary of the main points.
  3. Send it off to be put on the #AusELT blog.

Of course, it’s never quite that simple. Before you start, have a look at some previous examples (there are plenty on this blog) so you can see what summaries are like. And see Tips below for some extra help!

Tips

  • An easy way to create the transcript is to use Storify. This is what you do:

–       Set up a Storify account.

–       Click on ‘Create Story’ (top right)

–       Select the Twitter icon in the media panel on the right.

–       Use the search bar to search for #AusELT (uncheck the ‘Retweets’ box to keep the number of relevant tweets to a minimum).

–       Keep clicking “Show more results” until you have captured all the tweets from the chat, than click “add them all” to bring them over to your text pane on the left. This is now a chronological transcript of recent tweets. It is in order of most recent first, but you can reverse this using the “sort elements by time ascending” arrow button above the text pane.

–       Click on ‘Publish’ in the top menu bar to save *and share* your transcript.

      • Storify can also be used to write which allows for easy embedding of various media (see here for an example). This goes on the blog in the form of a link to your Storify page. However, many people prefer to just write a straightforward summary in Word – later this can be cut and pasted directly into the blog.
      • You don’t have to use millions of direct Tweet quotes – you can just paraphrase and support with a few of the clearest examples.
      • Don’t feel you have to use every Tweet or follow every conversational thread – stick to the main ideas.
      • Using headings often makes it easier to separate out the main talking points.
      • Try to have at least one picture in your summary (because it looks nice when people link to it!) Be careful with copyright though. Good sources are: ELTpics and Microsoft Images. NB: WordPress (this blog site) doesn’t like all image formats: JPG, GIF or PNG is probably best.
    • Include any useful reading or links that were mentioned either as you go, or in a final section of your summary, so readers have some direction for continuing to explore the issue.

If you have any other advice/suggestions let us know!

@sophiakhan4