A question so many more of us are asking these days . . .
Unemployed SLTs – where to find CPD?
In the Autumn of 2010, I had been unemployed for over 12 months after being made redundant. I knew how to keep up to date with developments in AAC, but I had been concerned about how best to update my knowledge in other areas of Speech & Language Therapy.
For a workaholic, with Speech & Language Therapy a passion and a vocation rather than “just a job”, losing access to Athens was one of the big downsides of being unemployed.
However, there are many free CPD resources and other free materials on the internet. The difficulty is finding them. When I did find them, I wanted to share them, particularly with other SLTs in a similar position to me, whether made redundant or newly qualified and still unable to find work as SLTs.
Twitter ID and hashtags for sharing CPD resources
I had already set up a “professional” Twitter ID as @salt_mine and so one way I tried to share this information was by tweeting the links to shared resources. To help identify and archive this information, I started using these hashtags:
This was in addition to “topic tags”, eg. #voice, #stammer, #EBP, #SLTResearch
Another challenge was finding the best way to make this information accessible to people unable to access Twitter, which is routinely blocked in the NHS. That is another story and I will tell it later.
In the meantime, you can find relevant recent tweets from @salt_mine, with links to resources, directly on Twitter with these hashtag searches:
Twitter does not archive all tweets and older tweets are often inaccessible via Twitter Search. More search results are “archived” here: http://j.mp/s51a3M along with the links to the resources I found.
The “archive” above uses the Twitter History Search Service offered by @PostPosting
If you do not have access to Twitter, eg. it is blocked by the NHS, then you might not be able to see the PostPosting search results. I will cover alternative methods to get to this inforrmation in another blog post.
#slpeeps and #slpchat
It was a little later that I discovered by accident that SLTs/SLPs across the globe were networking on Twitter by using the tag #slpeeps (Speech & Language People!).
For more info, see the SLPchat Blog
To get the most out of CPD opportunities on Twitter:
- follow these tags: #slpeeps | #slpchat | #RCSLT | #GivingVoiceUK
- find other “active #slpeeps and #auds on Twitter” – and add your own details – on @SLPTanya’s Google Drive spreadsheet http://j.mp/13TJJ4j – the form to add your own details is here: http://bit.ly/gW6cHI
- look at other #slpeeps lists of “followers” and lists of who they are following, to find even more #slpeeps!
- see who @RCSLT and @GivingVoiceUK follow, and who follows them
- follow and interact with the many friendly, well-informed SLP/SLTs and people with SLCN who will discover YOU when you post relevant info, links, queries and comments to Twitter using those tags.
And do you know what? These “SLPeeps” are not just on Twitter – they are everywhere!
There are “slpeeps” on Google+. On any social or professional networking site, if you are looking for other Speech & Language Therapists/Pathologists, have a search for “slpeeps” and see if anyone pops up.
Twitter Hashtags and #SLTags
One of the baffling things about Twitter when you first start off is the use of “hashtag abbreviations”. To help myself and other Speech & Language Therapists/Pathologists find relevant content, I started a collaborative dictionary of Speech & Langage Hashtags, ie. #SLTags
You will find this dictionary, along with a link to a form to add new defintions, on the salt-mine.net website here:
UPDATE: 11 March 2012:
No sooner had I written this than @SLPTanya blogged some very useful and timely guidance on the use of Twitter #hashtags:
UPDATE: 4 April 2013:
Very useful “Twittertips” by @deevybee:
Personal and/or Professional Twitter IDs?
I also made myself a new Twitter ID @SLTags, for posting information and asking questions about Speech & Language hashtags. Not strictly necessary but I didn’t want to bombard my existing followers with hashtag-related tweets.
This did not seem an odd thing to do as I already had another Twitter ID @Ukes4Fun for posting info and tallking to people about my other obsession – ukuleles! So I felt quite comfortable about having multiple Twitter IDs.
You might choose to have multiple personal and professional IDs, or not. I happen to think it is a good idea and I get a bit of fun out of it but others do not find it necessary.
And there is more . . . my Twitter IDs @salt_mine and @SLTags auto-post copies of my Tweets to a professional FaceBook Page saltmine.News , to the “activity stream” on my LinkedIn Profile and feed into a Twitter stream on my salt-mine.net website. It was fun nattering with other SLTs and people with SLCNs on Twitter but I grew uncomfortable autoposting my “nattering” tweets. So now I also have a “nattering SLT” account: @PirateSLT
That one came out of my mis-hearing the Adviser at the Job Centre, who I thought asked me if I hadn’t considered going into “pirate therapy’, jobs being so scarce. I had – Pirate SLT of course, not Private SLT, don’t be silly. I had also been thinking that I needed a “nattering ID’ and so the two came together neatly.
I don’t check Twitter or tweet every day or even every week. When I do, I feel more confident that, by using the appropriate ID, I am interacting with people who share similar interests and am communicating about shared interests.
Another way to filter incoming traffic is to set up and use “Twitter lists”. That way you can separate your different interests and switch between them. However, you have to rely on everyone else doing the same thing, if your allotment/ukulele/cycling etc. friends are not to be baffled by an incomprehensible flood of tweets about phonology!
There is a link at the bottom of this page to an Xmarks folder where I have bookmarked many webpages of Twitter Tools and Tips that cover this sort of stuff in mind-numbing detail! The best advice is just to get in there, jump in with both feet, and work on the organisational details bit by bit as you go along.
Twitter Daily Digest
You can also “catch-up” on links shared via Twitter by subscribing to one of several services that create “e-magazines” from tweets. I use paper.li and you can subscribe to “SaLT Mine Daily Diggings” for daily updates relevant to Speech & Language Therapy.
New to Twitter?
If you are new to Twitter, this list of “Twitter Tips & Tools” web pages, that I have bookmarked on Xmarks, might be helpful:
Not had enough yet about SLT CPD via Twitter?
OK, there might be something I have forgotten to mention . . . try the SLTags page on the www.salt-mine.net website for more info on CPD via Twitter:
Finally, thanks to @SLPTanya and all the other #slpeeps for helping me to find my way around on Twitter and to @SLPTanya in particular for the heart-warming commendation below.
As too many of you will know, you can get very down sometimes, feeling that your education and experience is going to waste and the contribution that you could make is not valued. Even if you cannot be working clinically, it is good know that there are still ways that you can contribute to the profession.
This sort of sort of CPD is very much about sharing and contributing, so it makes you feel valued and good about yourself too.
(Fighting the temptation to be utterly “unprofessional” and end with a “smiley face” icon!)
Last updated: 5 Feb 2015