You’ve probably noticed the shiny new ‘I’m an #ELTchat blogger’ badge on the right there. It comes to courtesy of the wonderful people behind #ELTchat: Shaun Wilden (@shaunwilden), Marisa Constantinides (@marisa_c) and Berni Wall (@rliberni) – thank you! Clicking on the badge will take you to the #ELTchat website, where you can find out about the next #ELTchats, vote for chat topics, access transcripts and summaries of past chats (like the one I did for which I recently received the badge – see below).
Like so many other people out there, #ELTchat has contributed a lot to my CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and helped me to develop my PLN (Personal Learning Network). If you’re interested in one or both of those things and haven’t participated in an #ELTchat yet, try it out on Wednesday at 9pm AEST.
#ELTchat is a ‘hashtag discussion’, which means:
- It happens on Twitter.
- The people participating in the chat include the hashtag #ELTchat in every tweet (e.g. “Good teachers listen to their learners #ELTchat”).
Including the #ELTchat hashtag allows people to search for and isolate only those tweets that are related to #ELTchat. The alternative – not using a hashtag – would mean that anyone who wanted to participate would have to be both following and followed by every other participant; this would make it very difficult for any newcomers to get involved.
There are a couple of basic steps before you can get started:
- Set up a Twitter account. If you’re new to Twitter or apprehensive about it, have a look at this presentation – it might help you to understand its benefits and practically how to get started.
- Download Tweetdeck. This small piece of software will allow you to sort out the #eltchat tweets from everything else that’s being tweeted. Watch Shelly Terrell’s video tutorial to find out how to use Tweetdeck for hashtag discussions.
- On Wednesdays at 9pm AEST, turn on your computer, open Tweetdeck and keep your eye on the ‘#ELTchat’ column you’ve set up.
- Contribute your own ideas to the chat, remembering to include the #ELTchat hashtag in every tweet.
- Volunteer at the end of the chat to write up the summary – it’s a great way to both give something back and develop your PLN by gaining some new followers.