Guest post by Sean Banville
The very clever name of this blog inspired me to write a post for it. It’s one of the greatest discoveries I’ve made on Twitter – not least because of its selfless owner Shelly Terrell. ‘Reboot Camp’ is a fitting metaphor for what many of us feel we need in teaching today to keep up with technology in the classroom. IT has arrived and it’s here to stay. Part of our jobs is to reboot ourselves and keep up.
reboot – Verb – cause to load (an operating system / operating teacher) and start the initial processes;
A reboot camp would be wonderful. A place to get drilled and prepped in blogs, wikis, nings, glogs, tweets and other strange-sounding words.
This is where Twitter saves the day. It has very quickly became my personal reboot camp, or PLN (Personal Learning Network). It is jam-packed-to-the-rafters with gifted, sharing and inspirational educators from across the globe. I have learnt an incredible amount about education and classroom tools in the few months I’ve been tweeting. The oft-cited comparison between a Twitter PLN and a virtual global staff room rings loud and true.
Writing has taken on a whole new experience with digital storytelling. My students can’t get enough of StoryMaker from CarnegieLibrary.org ; journals have taken on a new life with online timeline sites like MyStory.com; Glogster has opened a new world of creativity with using English for my classes; and Voicethread has added a wonderful new dimension to speaking classes. I’ve also read extensively on matters pedagogical on the hundreds of blogs I’ve been fortunate enough to find on Twitter.
Forming a Personal Learning Network on Twitter has been a fantastic reboot.
But of course Twitter provides a variety of reboots:
Hard (Cold) Reboot
For teachers who still rely on paper and shun the use of new tools in the classroom. A week spent on Twitter following just a few pedagogically and tech-savvy people will provide you with an astonishing and refreshing array of ideas and easy-to-use classroom tools.
For teachers already in the know. Engaging with Twitter would show them just how much more there is out there.
For Twitter regulars. Every now and then, a shining gem appears in your tweetstream that you will be itching to try in class. The good thing about random reboots is they happen regularly and are fun.
This is where the power of a wisely-chosen PLN kicks in. Whatever you need, invariably your PLN will provide the answer, often within minutes.
The real beauty of Twitter. Network booting takes place anywhere in the world, every time you log on to Twitter. You are connected to top people in your field. It beats any other kind of networking hands down.
Go on… reboot yourself today. It’s just a tweet away.
Sean Banville is webmaster of sites including BreakingNewsEnglish.com and ListenAminute.com. He has a Master’s degree in TEFL/TESL from Birmingham University. He spent 13 years teaching in Japan and relocated to the UAE in 2006. He recently became an enthusiastic Tweeter, @seanbanville, and has entered the world of blogging.