Friday, 1 October 2010

#ELTchat - My Personal Thoughts

Recently I have been following the newly formed #ELTchat on a Wednesday. The most convenient time for me is usually the first session of the day, which begins on the dot at 3pm GMT (4pm Rome time). There is also an evening session at 9pm GMT. These two slots cover most time lines around the world so teachers can choose a convenient time.

What is #ELTchat? Well, it is a weekly discussion based on a pre-selected topic, which is held entirely via Twitter.

There is a poll where teachers can choose what they would like to talk about and this poll is posted up on Sunday evening for people to vote for their choice of topic for the following Wednesday.

Here is the poll to vote for the choice of topics for Wednesday 6th October. The top 2 topics are discussed either in the afternoon or evening session. Therefore, if you wish, you have the opportunity to attend 2 different #ELTchat topics on one day!

The chats in the past few weeks have been varied and very interesting, including the latest one I attended - "Given the demands of a full-time teaching position, is using a coursebook really a bad thing?" Despite encountering a few technical difficulties, almost 700 tweets were exchanged on this lively topic. You can view the full transcript here. The chat is moderated by an excellent crew of moderators, and they are able to keep the chat on track very skillfully.

Over the weekend, I will be looking through the transcript of the evening session I missed, which was "Critical Thinking vs Comprehension". Here is the transcript for you to get a taste of how it went.

The Art of Being Concise

How can you say what you want to say in only 140 characters, you may be thinking to yourself.
Well, I thought that as well, before I started my learning journey on Twitter. My doubts were soon dispelled. You can definitely get to the heart of the subject, cutting out all the waffle and perambulations of the language, all within 140 characters.

When I attended my first #ELTchat session, I was a bit lost initially, as you really have to be "on the ball" to follow a lot of people tweeting at once. The one-hour is fast-paced, action-packed and truly exciting. Time literally flies! Despite my initial feelings of "Oh my goodness!! This is too fast for me! I can't keep up!!", I was hooked from the very beginning. I am getting better with practice.

Reasons for Participating
Why should you take part? Well, here are a few of my personal thoughts for starters!
  • It allows you to discuss with your peers from around the world valid topics of educational interest.
  • You can connect with not only teachers, but also publishers, ELT authors, people from all sectors of the industry.
  • You can learn a lot from the discussions.
  • You can feel a part of how education is evolving.
  • You can make things happen via your input.
  • You can make new friends and expand your PLN.
  • You can feel part of a unique experience.
  • You can use some of the ideas in your own lessons.
  • It will stimulate your world!
If you can, why don't you join me and other teachers from around the world on Wednesday 6th October? It will be an enriching experience, I assure you!

Follow all the updates via twitter by using the hashtag #ELTchat.

Hot off the Press!
#ELTchat has just won the Site of the Month Award October 2010! Wow, that is amazing for something which has only been going a few weeks. Many congratulations to the organisers of #ELTchat.


Cecilia said...

Hi Janet,

I had the exact same feeling of feeling lost and a bit dizzy when I took part in the first #ELTChat. It was not only my first #ELTChat but also my first chat on twitter. Thankfully people helped me out by giving me tips... Now I still feel a bit overwhelmed by the dynamics of it, but think I am getting the hang of it.

I agree with all the reasons you gave for taking part in it. I have expanded my PLN by following some of the people who were in the chats (that I didn't follow yet) who had so many interesting things to say. I would add another reason: you have a LOT of fun too :-)

Loved your post, how thoroughly you described it. Hopefully it will bring even more educators into participating in the #ELTChat. The more the merrier (and surely the more enriching)!

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Cecilia

Thank you so much for commenting here. I'm so happy that you are enjoying the #ELTchat experience via Twitter as well.

That is one of the main reasons I like it. The chance to connect with people from different ELT fields and the fact that we can all help each other in some fashion along the way.

I agree with you. The more the merrier and definitely the more enriching.

Martin Sketchley said...


I stumbled across the #ELTChat on Twitter a few weeks ago and was lucky to participate. It was really an insight and it allowed me to feel part of something which was evolving.

I think that the #ELTChat is something more teachers should participate in each Wednesday and hopefully your blog post will introduce fellow twitter'ers to ELTChat.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Martin

Lovely to see you here and many thanks for commenting on this post.

I agree it's great to have lots of people on board for the #ELTchat sessions. So much can be learned amongst such a positive and thriving community of educators.

I look forward to exchanging views and opinions with you over the coming weeks.