Most Teachers Don’t Live There…

While taking time to edify myself by reading some intriguing posts by those in my blog roll, I came across this comment:

“For teachers who spend time there, blog-tweet world is like King Solomon’s Mines, full of riches and constantly replenished with new ideas and links. But most teachers don’t live there. This is sad perhaps, but it’s the truth.” by Ken Wilson

After attending several conferences in the US and in Europe, I have seen that many educators do not visit blogs regularly, have not joined a ning, and will not join Twitter. Even if they have visited a website, how many actually visit these websites once a week or once a month? As an educator, I feel passionate about learning and I believe that all incredible educators feel the same!

No, I do not believe teachers who do not use technology are bad teachers, but this is what I believe….

  • If we are knowledge sharers, shouldn’t we continue to fill ourselves with knowledge?
  • If we want to inspire students to continue learning throughout their lives, then shouldn’t we continue to learn throughout our lives?
  • If we want motivated students who see learning as a journey, then shouldn’t we continue our journey?
  • If we want to motivate students to be the best in their fields, then shouldn’t we be the best in our fields?
  • If we want other educators to listen to our ideas, then shouldn’t we read about their ideas?
  • If we want support from our colleagues, then shouldn’t we support their workshops and projects?
  • If we want students to use digital media responsibly, then shouldn’t we give them access and show them how?
  • If we want students to not let technology overtake their lives, then shouldn’t we teach them how to balance themselves?
  • How can we teach balance, if we don’t have any social media in our diet?

Technology is not the enemy and ignorance is not bliss. If we don’t show students how to use social media and technology, then we cannot complain when they use this in unhealthy ways.

I recently met an educator from Nepal who uses one computer in his house to help the teachers in his village access the information other educators are sharing for free. He tells me on Skype how his teachers need and want access to the professional development activities online because there is no other way to get this information. They want to be better educators. Currently, we are planning a Skype conference for his teachers on that one computer. This one man has made greater strides of sharing the information he has gathered than many I know including myself!

I love my personal learning network. I love reading and commenting on their blogs, interacting with them through Twitter, Skyping with their principals, collaborating through nings, attending conferences with them on Second Life and on e-learning platforms! If I never participated in social media, then I would not be the educator I am today! Now, it is time for me to begin to spread the word.

I have to personally thank Jason Renshaw, English Raven, for his help in getting free professional development materials and incredible English materials for children to teachers in Nepal.

Read the rest of Ken Wilson’s comment on the English Raven post, Ditched Coursebook Deal Means Raven’s Nest Open for Business.


Make a goal to introduce the value of a personal learning network to at least one educator. I find most educators actually enjoy the value they receive when introduced to blogs.

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at


  1. Shelly, excellent post. The more time I spend in the connected collaborative world, the more i realize the vast number of teachers who are not there.

    I will take your challenge as well.

  2. Hi Shelly
    I’m doing a PG teaching qualification and hope to start probationary year next August. Your post really strikes a chord with me as I am mid-40s and amazed at the reluctance of teachers / learners my age + that are resistant to social media. I have found it to be an excellent source of information and experience (Twitter’s how I found you!) and agree whole-heartedly with your points about practising what we preach about lifelong learning.
    Thanks and best wishes

    • @Deborah,

      I have found it’s some new teachers as well. When teaching ESL at a high school in the US the most technology enthused was a nun who mentored me and one of the most stubborn teachers to work with was doing his first year of teaching and in his 20s. He refused to change his style of lecturing and having the students take notes. Not even Powerpoint was allowed even when I discussed the need for some visuals for English language learners in a general education class. Because he would not adapt, the counselor and I had to move the ELLs to another class where they had a chance to succeed. Also, the general education students suffered, but we could not really do much for them.

  3. I think about this often, and write about it on occasion on my blog under the tag “practice what you preach.” Your post, however, it much more articulate than mine! Well done!

  4. Great post. Shelly,
    It’s also great to know that there are extraordinary people who try to make things better. They never give up. I admire their dedication.I think, this educator from Nepal deserves praise and we shouldn’t forget the teachers who want to learn.I still can’t understand the ones who are surrounded with everything yet they just don’t start to go one step further. Let2s just hope they will one day…
    An one last thing about PLN. I love it. This has been the thing I’ve been waiting for years. Since I discovered this virtual world, I’ve been learning sth everyday and I read and write more.

    • @Eva,

      I definitely want to highlight the educator from Nepal and have asked him to be a guest on this blog so he shares his story which I think is truly inspiring. He also needs some resources like laptops, so I’m think of a way to share some with him.

      I love the PLN, too, and enthusiastic educators like you!

    • Jason,

      Thanks again! You are quite generous because I know you put a lot of hard work into your curriculum and are not resting in the Bahamas from the proceeds 😉

      I cannot wait to see you present in person!

  5. Hi Shelley,
    I read this with interest because I feel I understand the ‘other’ side. It was not very long ago, less than six months actually, when I was a non-tech anything teacher. Personally I used a lot of technology, but professionally I used very little beyond having a computer on my desk to deal with administrative issues. Now there were a lot of reasons why I felt that I had to be in that corner but that’s they way it was, and I believe that’s the way it was for me.
    Since I’ve discovered a more enlightened way of doing things I’ve tried not to criticize anybody for their approach. What I’ve found is that a soft, easy sell, seems to have a stunning impact. I have used the “Big Picture” blog as as introduction to Google Reader for several teachers. Personally they’re thrilled by the pictures, but the pictures are also amazingly useful for class. I realize that it will not win over all, and there is still much more to learn, but I see it as a start. Just my two cents…

    • Greg,

      I’ve not always been techie, but I’ve been a technophile for an extremely long time!

      However, I believe one great characteristic of a great educator is the ability to empathize and put one in another person’s shoes. I agree a soft, easy approach works and am doing things this way for those who are open to ideas such as facilitating and cooperative education, not only technology.

      However, I have met many teachers who are not even open to changing styles that set up many students to fail. For example, I know some teachers who will not refrain from only lecturing. Many of the at risk students, low level readers, and English language learners I have worked with fail these classes, yet the teacher sees this as a challenge. I have entered classrooms where the teacher says only 5 of you will make A’s and probably the rest of you C’s and below. I understand competition may work for some but I really wish these instructor’s classes were optional. I wish every student could choose their teachers.

    • Alastair,

      If someone is so against technology, I never argue or even speak to them about it. I rather spend time with people open to ideas and testing things like you state. I think we make great strides when we open ourselves to new experiences no matter how challenging. I try to carry this theory to other areas of my life and have had some terrible experiences, but for the most part, I have had many amazing experiences!

      I love your motto and idea to try something before being critical! If I could open another person’s eyes to adopt this motto for teaching then I think this would be a greater accomplishment! I will be striving for this challenge as well!

  6. Great post, and apt as I’m a first-year trainee teacher also – although by reading this post, I guess you can put me in the open-to-new-ideas-camp for researching and trying out new ideas with teaching.
    Great post, I’ll look forward to keeping a subscription to the blog.

  7. […]  Most Teachers Don’t Live There- In this post, we expressed our feelings about technology integration. I don’t think teachers who don’t integrate technology are bad teachers. However, if the educators can get access to the technology then shouldn’t we show students how to be responsible digital citizens? […]

  8. Hi,my name is maryam,I’m from iran,english language is very hard for me but i have learn it:(.
    how i learn english language?!plz answer me

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