Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher

A Twitter activity

When I did my Twitter seminar on Friday last week (blog post here) I started with a new activity, and it seemed to work really well. It was something I’d heard about before, but couldn’t find an appropriate time to use.

We started off with a big pile of scrap paper (A4 divided into four were the perfect size), plus a writing implement each. I took a piece of paper and wrote:

Sandy

As a teacher, one of my biggest problems is giving instructions. What should I do?

To prove this (!) I then told the group that they could either offer me advice or add their own problems. There were a few rules though:

  • no talking throughout the activity – the only communication could be on paper
  • write your name at the top of each piece of paper so that we can see who the message is on
  • one piece of paper per message, and don’t write too small (this is to simulate the ‘soundbite’ nature of Twitter)
  • you must place your paper at the end of the line (we had them all arranged on a row of tables), regardless of whether the previous piece of paper was what you were replying to (to simulate the Twitter stream)

The resulting ‘discussion’ was about ten minutes long and went really well. Here are a selection of our ‘tweets’ in no particular order to give you a taste of what we were talking about:

Tweets 1Tweet 2Tweet 3

After we’d finished the chat I asked the DELTees how they felt during the chat. This is what they came up with:

Twitter adjectives

The ‘chat’ was stimulating and made the rest of the seminar more interesting (at least, that’s how it felt) as they could really feel how Twitter works. I compared the amount of ‘tweets’ nine of us produced in ten minutes to the amount fifty or sixty of us produce in an hour on #eltchat and that got them really interested.

Two of them have already told me that they’ve signed up, and one more said she would sign up next weekend. This is much higher than my normal 1/12-15 hit rate! I really think this activity made all the difference, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone doing a Twitter for PD seminar, or to try out in class.

Enjoy!

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Comments on: "A Twitter activity" (12)

  1. [...] A Twitter activity When I did my Twitter seminar on Friday last week (blog post here) I started with a new activity, and it seemed to work really well. It was something I’d heard about before, but couldn’t find an ap… Source: sandymillin.wordpress.com [...]

  2. Hi Sandy,

    Really good activity – in fact the best I’ve ever seen – to show learners what they can gain from using Twitter.

    Have just posted a link to it on the TeachingEnglish facebook page if you’d like to check there for comments.

    Best,

    Ann

  3. Great activity. Thanks.

  4. Hi Sandy,

    I did something similar a few months ago with Post-Its. I asked everyone to write down one thing they loved about teaching and stick it up on the wall. Everyone then circulated, sticking replies next to comments that interested them (like the ‘@mentions’ page) and copying the notes they liked most before adding them to their own space on the wall (to simulate retweets).

    It worked really well as a way to show how everyone has an idea to share even when restricted to a minimal amount of writing (see my blogpost on it here: http://www.davedodgson.com/2011/04/professional-development-beyond.html)

    I like your idea too – it simulates the timeline much better than mine! Such activities are really good to do before giving a live demo of Twitter, which can be a bit overhwelming if you just jump in.

  5. Thanks for sharing it Ann.
    Dave, I read and commented onthat post, but had completely forgotten about it! Thanks for reminding me :)
    Sandy

  6. Thanks for sharing this, Sandy. Loved it! I like yours, too, Dave – Must have missed that one. Just too much stuff to read out there, isn’t it?

  7. [...] A Twitter activity When I did my Twitter seminar on Friday last week (blog post here) I started with a new activity, and it seemed to work really well. It was something I’d heard about before, but couldn’t find an ap… Source: sandymillin.wordpress.com [...]

  8. [...] A Twitter activity [...]

  9. [...] A Twitter activity When I did my Twitter seminar on Friday last week (blog post here) I started with a new activity, and it seemed to work really well. It was something I’d heard about before, but couldn’t find an ap… Source: sandymillin.wordpress.com [...]

  10. [...] and try to make the class a little more dynamic. I had come across this lesson from Sandy Millin, http://sandymillin.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/a-twitter-activity/#comment-638, and thought it would be a really interesting and thought-provoking lesson for the [...]

  11. [...] background-position: 50% 0px; background-color:#222222; background-repeat : no-repeat; } sandymillin.wordpress.com – Today, 3:45 [...]

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