Thoughts on: Using social media tools to fit your professional development & support networking needs

Reflection, Teacher Support

When exploring the vast pool of online tools and resources, it becomes clear that there are various types of tools available for any purpose. With the purpose of self-directed professional development and language education in mind, there are a few categories of tools that I have come to appreciate. I write this with a novice language teacher in mind, but much of the following information may be applicable to learners and social media as well.

Social media and online tools could be organized by how engaged the user must be with the platform and how the content is experienced by both the user and the support network (learning community). Every social media platform seems to fall along a plane that ranges from totally receptive to totally productive on one axis and collaborative to individual on the other axis. It might look something like this:

social media categories


In reality, the classifications of social media tools may not be so simplistic. Each tool has the potential to be used in a variety of ways depending on the context and purpose. Where Twitter seems to be a fairly collaborative and productive tool (users create content and often share from and interact with other users), it could be a more individual, receptive tool if a user simply collected information others shared via Twitter. Information can be transferred, moved around, edited, and conveyed again using Twitter, but each user will engage with the tool in the way that works best for their purposes.

In the coming months, I hope to explore a few different social media tools in relation to my own continuing education and professional development. I hope to share my findings here and ultimately in my MA degree qualifying paper.

The Quest: An Introduction


The Internet can be a vast place full of wonderful and frightening prospects. While there are many facets of the great inter-web, I am interested in exploring the dark, dingy, and somewhat unorganized corners that relate to the field of teaching English as a second language (TESL). It seems that the Internet provides an infinite spring of information, resources, and communication across many fields of study and professional interests, and there are many brave souls who have ventured into the inter-webs to collect and curate the best and brightest tools and information in those fields, including the field of ESL.

My goal and ultimate quest is to contribute to the organization of information and resources available for teachers of ESL with this humble blog. Undoubtedly, I will owe my efforts in large part to those brave professionals who have ventured before me, and I hope that I can carry the torch of information and professional development well enough to reach instructors and educators who wish to participate and collaborate in this exciting medium.

Throughout this endeavor, I welcome any input and collaboration from interested parties. After all, without curious and adventurous professionals there would be no larger online learning community, and my personal quest would be seriously misguided.

All of that being said, here goes nothing!

I raise my glass in a toast to this ongoing endeavor and to the endless steam of information to be had online.