PLNs Tech Tips

PRESTO: How to Build A PLN Using Twitter

In order to be cutting edge and stay relevant in any career field, you need a Personal Learning Network (PLN)! A PLN consists of individuals who you choose to take part in your professional development. These individuals share resources, exchange ideas with you, offer support, and collaborate with you. Twitter is one of the quickest ways to establish a PLN. However, many educators new to Twitter may not understand how the process works. In the beginning, I used to only update then I discovered how to engage with others in order to build a strong PLN.

If I only knew then what I know now…

You probably do not have the time to read all the Twitter materials available, but do you have 3 minutes and 20 seconds? In the PRESTO below, I share with you how I continue to build my PLN using Twitter.

What is a PRESTO?

PRESTO, PRESent your TOpic,┬áis a video presentation style created by Heike Philp. In a PRESTO, the speaker creates a PowerPoint of 10 slides that auto-advance every 20 seconds, which means the entire presentation is only 3 minutes and 20 seconds long. You can do the PRESTO on any topic you wish and Heike will coach you through it in an online meeting platform. Creating a PRESTO with Heike really prepares you for video presentations. During the process, I learned about lighting, nonverbal communication, voice, pitch, and presence. Therefore, I recommend you read Heike Philp’s post for more information about PRESTO and how you can take part in this type of professional development.

More Resources

by Oliver Widder, Geek and Poke, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 License

by Oliver Widder, Geek and Poke, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 License

To make your Twitter adventure much easier, please visit these links and resources:


Make a PRESTO or try one of the tools mentioned in this post!

You may want to subscribe to receive regular updates, leave a quick comment of how one of these tools helped you, tweet this, or share this series with your Personal Learning Network (PLN) through your RSS reader or Delicious account.


  • October 7, 2009 - 22:58 | Permalink

    Thanks, Shelly, for organising all these links together. It’s great!
    I accept your challenge and I’ll make a Presto.

  • ozge
    October 8, 2009 - 02:18 | Permalink

    Shelly,this is my second time that I’ve watched your Presto! It’s great, I like the way you have prepared your slides . You’ve given the best and enough information in your limited time!! As usual, very very inspiring!! and Presto is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard!! Congrats on you and Heike !! I hope to do mine soon =)

  • elenelli
    October 8, 2009 - 03:10 | Permalink

    What an excellent post! I’m just getting in pln with small steps and your ideas are really helpfull! I’m from Greece and connecting with other educators seems a llitle behind. Thank you.

    • October 8, 2009 - 07:54 | Permalink


      I’m so happy this is helping you! I hope it saves you some time as well. I remember reading every Twitter article and post so I wanted to just have a few links that would not be overwhelming for beginners using Twitter!

  • October 8, 2009 - 06:05 | Permalink

    It has been great fun to work with you, Shelly on this Presto.

    I have come to know your heartwarming and charming personality (must be in the blood, hehe) and you love towards education.

    You are a treasure to my PLN. :-)

    Rgds Heike

    • October 8, 2009 - 07:55 | Permalink


      You are the best video presenter coach! Thank you for being a great observer and offering such wonderful ideas!

  • Pingback: What My PLN Means to Me | Teacher Reboot Camp

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention PRESTO: How to Build A PLN Using Twitter | Teacher Reboot Camp --

  • October 8, 2009 - 20:53 | Permalink

    Great info Shelly! You are an inspiration to us all. ~EdTechLeader

  • October 11, 2009 - 16:41 | Permalink

    Thank you for your kind words! Maybe you would consider doing a PRESTO? You share such great information on Twitter!

  • October 14, 2009 - 09:43 | Permalink

    I loved your PRESTO, Shelly! Just loved it! You did a GREAT job my sweet friend! I’m really really looking forward to meeting you in real life!

    • October 14, 2009 - 18:54 | Permalink

      I’m excited to meet you as well! Your PRESTO was my inspiration and your guest blog piece helped me think about this idea! Thank you so much for your encouragement!

  • October 14, 2009 - 11:11 | Permalink

    Great video Shelly! And right at the moment I am preparing for a presentation for greek teachers of english! Inspiration!

    • October 14, 2009 - 18:55 | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing this with the teachers! Hopefully it helps them understand what Twitter is about and how to tweet.

  • October 14, 2009 - 11:12 | Permalink

    Great stuff, Shelly.
    Yet again, something I can show to people who are scared, or dismissive of Twitter.
    You can turn the most impersonal platform into a truly personal experience in 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
    I have been using RSS FlashG following your recommendation, it’s fantastic, well worth the investment.
    Thanks for all that you’ve been doing to make Twitter a real learning experience to the 2500+ people who decided to follow you in six months.
    What a joyride it must have been for you, and I can assure you that it certainly has been for us.

    • October 14, 2009 - 13:25 | Permalink

      Dear all,

      May I encourage others to try a Presto?

      Here is how to do it…

      1) Create 10 slides preferably with little text and lots of images
      2) In PowerPoint go to the Slide Sorter view and click on Transition, then add the 20 sec under Advance Slide (bottom right) and uncheck the ‘On mouse click’ functionality
      3) You do not need a virtual classroom to record it, in fact you can record a presto there in this slide sorter view and if you should not see the recorder function (I am actually not so sure whether every PowerPoint has this, it might have gotten installed with my Camtasia) then please correct me if I am wrong.
      4) Personally, I love to see the presenter smile and in this recording menu of PowerPoint you can also record your webcam. This is very smart.
      5) What is also a great choice is prezi, but I am not sure whether you can actuall auto-forward the moves to the next point that you are making and this is the actual key of doing a presto, you should not have any control over the slides, they should auto-advance.

      There are a few things that you will notice doing this…

      a) It looks easy and cool but it isn’t
      b) You’ll learn to use precise and concise wording
      c) You can not read from a script because the slides move too fast and best of all
      d) you can not use lots of bullet points. You HAVE to use images.

      Some of you are showing your students this presto, what a great idea.

      Don’t fail to show them the following speedy presentation too on ‘Ancient Twitter’


    • October 14, 2009 - 18:56 | Permalink


      Thank you for the support! You should do a PRESTO. You would be great, because you are very passionate about teaching and have so much experience in so many areas. I would love to see your presentation.

  • Candace Townsley
    October 19, 2009 - 23:43 | Permalink

    BRAVO! That was wunderbar… hee hee.. I don’t know how to spell in German!! Awesome job! Have a GREAT DAY!!!

  • Pingback: The Edge of Education Carnival. Issue 1 | We Teach We Learn

  • Pingback: Fearing The Technology Monster: Guest Post from Shelly Terrell : Myscha Theriault

  • Pingback: 7 Ways to Increase Teacher Technology Integration in the Classroom « Teaching Miss Cheska

  • Pingback: 16 Resources about Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) | Teacher Reboot Camp

  • Pingback: 5 New Edublogs To Keep On Your Radar | SoYouWantToTeach.Com

  • Pingback: Personal Learning Network and 21st Century Skills « Pleasant Plains Education Association

  • August 12, 2010 - 11:22 | Permalink

    Good stuff, I am working on a webpage of information to help educators in my district build a PLN. Just added a link to this post. Thanks!

  • Pingback: Connect To The World Through Twitter (Presentation) | Teacher Reboot Camp

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

    Powered by: Wordpress

    Follow this blog

    Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.