Twitter in ELT: Twitter as a professional tool

27-May-2013

For educators and professionals working in the English language teaching sphere, Twitter can be a great tool to aid professional development. Creating a profile on Twitter marks the first steps to developing your own online presence and allows you to build connections with others in your industry within an open community space.

So from helping your students in the classroom to giving your own career a boost, here are five simple suggestions on how to make sure you’re tweeting like a pro …

1) Follow the right crowd
You’ve set up your Twitter account and spent a sufficient amount of time checking you’ve got the right link colour, what next? One of the first things you’ll want to do is start following others in the industry who share your teaching interests. Accounts with a large amount of followers may be industry leaders, but seeing who your colleagues and peers follow will also help you decide which accounts are most relevant to you.

To help you get started, here are just a few of the accounts we, @macmillancampus, follow. They help keep us updated with everything that’s going on in the world of ELT and blended learning:

@TheConsultantsE – Nicky Hockly and Shelly Terrell tweet for this account and it’s always full of great teacher training advice on elearning.
@NikPeachey – ELT and all-round Tech expert (and onestopenglish author) Nik Peachey shares a lot of useful teaching news from his scoop.it accounts.
@Edudemic – A community of educators and technologists who tweet news from their site.
@thornburyscott – Author of The A-Z of ELT, Scott Thornbury certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to ELT.
@web20classroom – Co-creator of #edchat, Steven W. Anderson is a prolific tweeter and a big name when it comes to elearning expertise.
@macmillanELT – This final one is a bit of a plug, but it may be useful for teachers to follow ELT publishers, particularly if you use any of their course materials to keep updated with new updates and related offers. Plus our friends who manage the Macmillan Education account tend to be a helpful bunch…

2) Share your own expertise
Communication is a two-way street. As well as a research tool to find relevant news, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re also tweeting information which will be of interest to your community. As mentioned in our earlier etiquette guide, keep in mind who will be reading your tweets. If you’re using it to develop a professional profile, this may even mean a potential future employer, so share articles and comments that show that you’re genuinely engaged with the industry you’re in.

3) Reach out to other professionals
One of the best things about Twitter is that it opens channels of communication with people who you may otherwise not get a chance to speak to. Don’t be afraid of approaching people you’ve never met or industry influencers you follow, and responding to interesting tweets they post. Think of Twitter as a way to casually network without the awkwardness of small talk and empty silences. It’s great for connecting with people you may have met in passing at conferences or events. What’s more, meeting someone in real life after you’ve already spoken to them on Twitter immediately establishes some common ground and always helps to make that first meeting feel a bit more familiar.

4) Manage your twitter presence
For those serious about using Twitter as a professional development tool, one of the things you’ll definitely want to consider is using a desktop application to manage your profile. Popular options include TweetDeck and Buffer. If you’re too busy during your working day to tweet, the apps allow you to schedule posts in advance and respond to tweets through a user-friendly interface. Here at BlendedMEC and Macmillan English Campus, we use Hootsuite, which is absolutely brilliant for managing multiple accounts and making sure that we always stay on top of all our social profiles. All of these apps offer free-to-access options, so do take a look!

5) Measure your influence
Finally, if you’re well on your way to becoming a tweet-a-holic, then the last thing you’ll probably want to do is to take a look at how well you’re doing in terms of social engagement. So to make sure that your tweets are reaching all the right people, there are plenty of tools out there which offer statistics and insights for Twitter, including the above mentioned apps. Another place to look is Klout which will give you a score between 1-100 to represent your influence. Twitter Counter is also a nice site which allows you to track your follower growth – just make sure you don’t get too preoccupied with numbers …

That’s it for our series this month on Twitter in ELT. As ever, we’re always interested to hear how others are using social networking sites, so do follow us @macmillancampus and @onestopenglish or let us know below if you have any comments. Happy tweeting!

Julie

 

 


Read more top Twitter tips in the posts below:

Twitter in ELT: Introduction

Do’s and don’ts: An etiquette guide to Twitter

Teaching ideas for using Twitter

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