Friday, 22 October 2010

Why is Twitter great?

10 days ago or so, while having my breakfast, I was checking my tweets.  The tweets that come in overnight are mostly from the USA on one side of the world and Australia on the other.  One of the Australian MFL Twitterati who I follow, @ykombi, had tweeted:

I had made a table comparing the French and English school systems for a podcast about La Rentrée, and so tweeted back:

Almost immediately I had a reply.

@ykombi sent me her email address via Twitter DM (Direct Message) and I emailed her the file, which she was able to adapt to the Australian system, as it is pretty similar to the English one.

That's just one example of why Twitter is great.  You can ask something, however complex, and someone somewhere will do their best to help you out.  The MFL Twitterati are so generous and supportive.

Then a few days later I read this tweet from the wonderful @wizenedcrone:

Having spoken to @bootleian via Flashmeetings and corresponded via email, I am a big fan, and cheekily asked @wizenedcrone if I could be a temp in her department so that I could attend the CPD day.  And today I did attend the CPD day!  It was not only an opportunity to meet up again with several of the north-east Twitterati, not only a chance to meet the great @bootleian, but also a chance to learn lots of new ideas and to meet and network with new MFL colleagues in the north-east.  All in all a very profitable way to spend my day off.  And another example of why Twitter is great.  You get to find out about events that are happening not only in your area but all over the place.  Even if you can't attend in person you can often attend virtually or catch up with the presentations afterwards via services such as Slideshare or peoples' blogs.

Twitter often gets a negative press, with many people thinking that it's just daft people telling anyone who will listen what they have had for their breakfast.

But for me it's much more than that.  When I worked as a secondary AST, I was expected to at the forefront of MFL teaching, but rarely had the opportunity to find out what that forefront looked like.  In my current role, I need to be at the cutting edge of primary language teaching.  Thanks to my Twitter PLN I find out all I need to know and more.

So that's why I think that Twitter is great.  What about you?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Smart !

I've already mentioned quite a few of my gadgets on here.  Digital camera, talking pen, Flip video, air mouse....  But one of the gadgets that the Twitterati have been trying to persuade me to get for a while is one I've never wanted.  I've never wanted an iPhone.  Or any other Apple product, to be honest.  But the more I read about Android phones, the more I was sure that was what I wanted.  I spent time reading up about the different phones available and settled on HTC.  I was considering a Wildfire but then my lovely husband offered to buy me a Desire for my birthday.

It was delivered on Tuesday, and my mother pointed out that I shouldn't have it yet.  I know, I know, but you have to make sure it works!  Five days later, I am hooked.  I've set up my Gmail and downloaded Seesmic for effective tweeting.  I'm having a go with UltimateFaves Pro to have all my favourite apps on the homescreen and have found gReader to be able to access my Google Reader and a Delicious app to be able to bookmark sites when accessing the internet on the Desire.  Naturally I have also been finding some good games, in the process rediscovering my addiction to Othello.  The Android Karaoke app is great fun and will drive my husband crackers.

It's been very interesting to see the reaction of my daughters, currently aged 7 and 3, to the Desire, the first smartphone that they have had proper access to (my husband has an ancient HTC through work that they aren't allowed anywhere near).  The elder one can find her way around it very easily.  I took her photo with it earlier today, and she said that she wanted to put a different dress on the picture.  So we went into the App Market and quickly found and installed PicSay. Within minutes she had added to the photo a multi-coloured title, a speech bubble, some "stickers" of hair and funny glasses, and a green tint.  The little one is obsessed with Talking Tom, who we discovered thanks to this blog post from Dominic McGladdery.  She is always asking to "stroke the pussycat" and also knows how to give him some milk and make him scratch the screen.  It occurred to me that she is growing up in a world where it's perfectly normal to stroke a virtual cat to make it purr.  Technology that is normal for her would have been unimaginable for me at her age, in the early 70s.  A Changing Phase indeed.

It has also occurred to me that a smartphone is only as smart as the person operating it.  I know that I have a lot to learn before I am using the Desire to its full potential.  I'd love to hear about your experiences and recommendations.