Tony Gurr

Does Twitter Help Teachers LEARN, GROW & “Get Off The Planet Faster”… (Pt 01 of 03)

In Teacher Learning, Technology on 23/09/2013 at 5:56 am

Twitter Blog Post 01

A few days back, I re-introduced my “model” of what 21st Century LEARNing Culture might…should look like.

You know, the type of organisational or institutional climate that might…could create the working / learning environments that would allow us all to be the best possible versions of ourselves.

I did the original version around 30 months ago but decided it needed an upgrade…


I was well-proud of myself…these things take ages to create!

Twitter Blog Post 02 (21C Culture ver 03)

…that was till a dear friend of mine got me some “feedback”!


Feedback via Twitter (in three or four DMs, of course)!


The feedback went something like this:

“I love the way you put your rose-coloured glasses on when you do posts”


(I knew what was coming)

“…there are just too many ideas there…too many thunks, as you would say – couldn’t you just give us a simple version…a snappier version that we could all remember”!


He had a point (buggar) and I had a go:

Twitter Blog Post 03 (21C Culture 3C ver)

Not too shabby…if I say so meself!


Snappy, sexy…and…grounded on the communicative power of the number “3”.

A politician’s wet dream…


Then, I smelled the coffee!


Why was I doing this?

Why was I “dumbing” down what I believe in – for an “audience”…of one?

Why was I aggreeing with someone that it is OK to drag our thunking down to the lowest common denomitator…or wordbite?

WHY (joker Face)


Because, sadly, we live in a world that has become addicted to “solving” its problems in one of four ways:

Twitter Blog Post 04 (the Twitter EGGS)

Sometimes all four at once!


…and the little Twitter bird tells us this is OK.


Not just “OK” but a prerequisite…if you want to be “liked” or “followed”…


Time for a RANT

Oh, deary-me…me-oh-my

is Tony getting ready for a rant, acaba?


Nooooooo – when have you ever heard me “rant”?

This post has been in the pipeline for a while – I wanted to look at how we (as TEACHers) are using Twitter to help us LEARNADAPT to the rapidly changing eco-systems that we live in…and use the tools that these systems are giving us.

Oh, yes….and share a few useful links!

The rant (that never was) was an after-thunk…I might come back to it later.


Twitter (bird announce)

Those of you that know me and connect over twitter, know that I share….big time! Twitter has become my main vehicle for sharing things I stumble across…I am interested in…I am sent.


I read a LOT.


I signed up for Twitter in February 2011like most men, I was a late developer.

I wanted to use my Twitter account to share good stuff on LEARNing, EDUcation and TRAINing – and 99.99% of my tweets are about these things (the rest are about my dog….Dexter and my favourite “guilty pleasure”….Dexter)!

Since that time, I have clocked up around 11,400 tweets95% of which carry a bit of “bedtime reading” – a link to a blog post, an article or report, or an infographic….even a video or podcast (from time to time).

Twitter Blog Post 05 (Tonys stats)


HELLO! My name’s Tony and I’m a tweep!

HELLO, Tony!

Well, I haven’t tweeted for 2 hours, 37 minutes and…

DAMN! …fell off the wagon, again!’


That’s around 1.6m characters (each tweet allows you 140 of those) I have thrown into the tweetiverse (you can guess this word, yes? I’ll be doing this a lot in this mini-series).

Trust me – I am not the “worst”…there are many other tweeps out there far worse than I (and not just Miley Cyrus…and all the parental tweeps she upset recently with her “twerkingnot tweeting)!


BUT, and…as I saidI read a LOT!

Because of my love of “BEDtime READing” and my talent for wishing to inflict it on others – that means that there are, approximately, another 11 to 13 million words I have communicated to my other tweeps…through the tweets I have sent over the past 30 months!

Twitter Blog Post 08 (Total Novels)


Now, on the whole – my bouts of tweetery have been greeted “warmly“. Many of them are RT’ed (retweeted)…a lot of them are “favourited” (I’m guessing to be saved for laters…as we TEACHers are often in a class when the little twitter ringtone kicks in).

Every now and again I get a lovely little tweet or DM (direct message) saying something like:

Twitter Blog Post 06 (Yasemins comment)


Yasemin’s comment, BTW, could be roughly translated as “These links are sick“! (“sick” in teenage-speak, yani…meaning “so cool”)! OK – so she actually said “I am sick about these links of yours”! – but that does not translate as well…

Just so you know!


But, what got me thunking…was whether I had done the LEARNing that 13 million words (of READing) seemed to suggest. Whether my tweeps had also done the same amount of LEARNingor (even) READing…as I had done.

Maybe, they had done even more!

And, perhaps more importantly…how had we used that LEARNing for ourselves – and to add value to our classroom practice and LEARNers.


I realised I needed to do some research….#crowdsourcing even!

Twitter Blog Post 07 (Crowdsourcing FQs)

How would YOU answer these questions?


  1. Just posting a few of the responses I got – to the FOUR questions.

    First we have – Ana Cristina Pratas

    1 – Yes, Twitter helps me learn as a teacher; actually, it’s one of my best PDs;

    2 – Yes, by following others on Twitter I keep up to date, am provoked into thinking mode and how best to apply ideas in my classrooms:

    3 – Delicate question Tony Gurr! But usually because I know that the “tweeter” shares excellent links/ideas/comments which I think may also be of interest for others (or so I hope ;

    4 – Yes, either because I respect/trust the source (i.e. person) or the title of link looks interesting; not a practice I recommend nor do often. However there are professionals who I know ALWAYS share excellent links/posts and so if they help me learn, I am comfortable to share with others as well. Sometimes it may also be a news item which is breaking so not always related to education and professional development.

  2. Now, one from Michael Griffin:

    My immediate thoughts/answers.

    Q1: Does Twitter help you LEARN (as a teacher)? How do you know?

    I think so.
    (I can’t really say I know for sure). But I think so.
    Actually, it helped me see that teachers all around the world face similar issues and some things I thought might be localized to Korea are in fact widespread.

    Of course, sharing and getting teaching ideas is also useful but for me it is more in the exchange or successes, trials, tribulations and ideas about teaching.

    Q2: How do tweets impact your classroom practice? How do you know?

    I think there is a raised awareness about certain issues.

    I can’t say that twitter itself has impacted practice but surely reading blogs via twitter has.

    Also, ahem I sometimes check twitter in class, which is an impact, innit?

    Q3: How do you decide whether to forward (or RT) a tweet or not?

    A very complicated procedure that involves calculus and geometry and geomancy.
    Mostly I try to share things I think will be useful/interesting for those that follow me.
    I also try to RT things that can have an immediate impact for someone (like job offers or resource requests or such things.

    Q4: Have you ever forwarded a tweet (RT’ed) “without” reading it? (tell the truth) Why?

    Almost never.
    Maybe once or twice by accident.
    LIke I thought it was something I’d already read and just RTed it.

    I can’t say I have ever done so intentionally.

  3. Also – another from Elif Merve Otsar Yaman:

    I don’t use Twitter too much. I have an account – but once or twice a week, I sign in :))

    I don’t know the reason but I have never ever forwarded anything without reading. If it is too long and I don’t have much time, I read and forward it later :))

    Have a nice weekend :))

  4. One in Turkish, this time, from Turgay Öntaş:

    S.1. Twitter öğrenme sürecimi olumlu etkiledi. Neden, bilginin değeri söyleyenin ve üretenin değeri ile ilişkilidir. Doğru bilgiye doğru kişiler aracılığı ile ulaşma saiki twitterda takip ettiğimiz kişileri seçmeme yardımcı oluyor. Onlar aracılığı ile kaynağa ve görüşe ulaşmam kolaylaşıyor. Öncelikle onların süzgecinden geçmiş içerikle karşılaşmak gereksiz yorulmamın önüne geçiyor.

    S.2. Sınıfa girmiyorum. Bununla birlikte informal ortamları bilgi paylaştığımız yer olarak düşünüp informal sınıf kabul edersek güncelin bilgisini paylaşmak önemli insanlara atıf yaparak size ilgiyi ve dikkati arttırıyor ve motive oluşa katkı sağlıyor.

    S.3. Neyi kimin yazdığı önemlidir. Yazılan şey ilgi alanım dahilinde ise yazan da o konu ile ilgili ise paylaşıyorum. Paylaştıklarımızda kendi zihniyet dünyamıza ilişkin ipuçları veriyor.

    S.4. 140 karakteri okumadan paylaşmak herhalde pek mümkün değil şahsım için. Kaynak gösterip link verildiğinde ise metnin boyutuna göre belirli yerlerini okuyup paylaşıyorum. Bazen de paylaştığım kişiyi takip etmeyip beni takip edenlerin de dikkatini çekmesi için paylaşıyorum. Burada şunu ihmal etmemek lazım paylaşımını paylaştığımız kişinin

    İlgili konu ile ilişkisinin ve sözünün değerinin itimat düzeyinin yüksek olmasıdır.

  5. One from Laurence Raw

    1) Unanswerable because you’d have to define the terms of what ‘learning’ is

    2) in terms of immediacy of response, definitely esp with ESL learners

    3) if it’s interesting

    4) no but then I use Twitter for my radio drama blog more than EFL

  6. As you understand I ate more “bread” ( maybe nobody understands but you) and learned more about technology… not only thanks to twitter but also you.

    Finally I’m writing my comment here :0)

    Actually,the people you follow are really important. If you follow someone just for pleasure, it’s ok – but if you want to learn something besides pleasure, it’s possible too. I met you in a conference and I thought “Thank God, still we have different teachers” I thought “Dead poets alive actually!”

    I mean twitter could be a treasure with some extraordinary teachers like you. Long live “John Keating”,”Katherine Watson”,”Eugene Simonet” and Tony Gurr :0)

    • Yasemin Hocam,

      TY for finally dropping to comment – I have been waiting for you. You are too kind with your comments – you made me blush 😉

      Eating “bread” is indeed the way to go 😉

      Yes, I hear you – as with any EdTech tool, it is what you do with it and with whom you do it that matters. No argument from me on that 😉

      TY…SM…and for allowing me to use your tweet in this mini-dizi, too. You is a star, hocam!


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