PRESTO: How to Build A PLN Using Twitter

In order to be cutting edge and stay relevant in any career field, you need a Personal Learning Network (PLN)! A PLN consists of individuals who you choose to take part in your professional development. These individuals share resources, exchange ideas with you, offer support, and collaborate with you. Twitter is one of the quickest ways to establish a PLN. However, many educators new to Twitter may not understand how the process works. In the beginning, I used to only update then I discovered how to engage with others in order to build a strong PLN.

If I only knew then what I know now…

You probably do not have the time to read all the Twitter materials available, but do you have 3 minutes and 20 seconds? In the PRESTO below, I share with you how I continue to build my PLN using Twitter.

What is a PRESTO?

PRESTO, PRESent your TOpic, is a video presentation style created by Heike Philp. In a PRESTO, the speaker creates a PowerPoint of 10 slides that auto-advance every 20 seconds, which means the entire presentation is only 3 minutes and 20 seconds long. You can do the PRESTO on any topic you wish and Heike will coach you through it in an online meeting platform. Creating a PRESTO with Heike really prepares you for video presentations. During the process, I learned about lighting, nonverbal communication, voice, pitch, and presence. Therefore, I recommend you read Heike Philp’s post for more information about PRESTO and how you can take part in this type of professional development.

More Resources

by Oliver Widder, Geek and Poke, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 License
by Oliver Widder, Geek and Poke, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 License

To make your Twitter adventure much easier, please visit these links and resources:


Make a PRESTO or try one of the tools mentioned in this post!

You may want to subscribe to receive regular updates, leave a quick comment of how one of these tools helped you, tweet this, or share this series with your Personal Learning Network (PLN) through your RSS reader or Delicious account.

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, author, and international speaker. She is the host of American TESOL’s Free Friday Webinars and the Social Media Community Manager for The Consultants-E. She has co-founded and organized the acclaimed educational projects, Edchat, ELTChat, The Reform Symposium E-Conference and the ELTON nominated Virtual Round Table language and technology conference. Her prolific presence in the educator community through social media has been recognized by several notable entities, such as The New York Times, UNESCO Bangkok, Edweek, Converge Magazine, the United Federation of Teachers, the 140 Conference, Mashable, English Central,, and T/H/E JOURNAL. Her education blog, Teacher Reboot Camp, is ranked as one of the top 10 language teaching and technology blogs and the 50 best blogs for education leaders. In 2012 find her book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators published by Eye on Education and participate with over 7000 educators worldwide in this online professional development course that helps educators develop Personal Learning Networks and accomplish social media and teaching goals. Find her on Twitter, @ShellTerrell. Shelly has taught English language learners at various levels since 1998 in the US, Greece, and in Germany. She currently presents and hosts workshops on integrating technology effectively with young learners and adults. Shelly holds an Honours BA in English and a minor in Communication with a specialization in Electronic Media from the University of Texas in San Antonio and an Honours MA in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix.

28 thoughts on “PRESTO: How to Build A PLN Using Twitter

  1. Shelly,this is my second time that I’ve watched your Presto! It’s great, I like the way you have prepared your slides . You’ve given the best and enough information in your limited time!! As usual, very very inspiring!! and Presto is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard!! Congrats on you and Heike !! I hope to do mine soon =)

  2. What an excellent post! I’m just getting in pln with small steps and your ideas are really helpfull! I’m from Greece and connecting with other educators seems a llitle behind. Thank you.

    1. Elenelli,

      I’m so happy this is helping you! I hope it saves you some time as well. I remember reading every Twitter article and post so I wanted to just have a few links that would not be overwhelming for beginners using Twitter!

  3. It has been great fun to work with you, Shelly on this Presto.

    I have come to know your heartwarming and charming personality (must be in the blood, hehe) and you love towards education.

    You are a treasure to my PLN. :-)

    Rgds Heike

  4. Great stuff, Shelly.
    Yet again, something I can show to people who are scared, or dismissive of Twitter.
    You can turn the most impersonal platform into a truly personal experience in 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
    I have been using RSS FlashG following your recommendation, it’s fantastic, well worth the investment.
    Thanks for all that you’ve been doing to make Twitter a real learning experience to the 2500+ people who decided to follow you in six months.
    What a joyride it must have been for you, and I can assure you that it certainly has been for us.

    1. Dear all,

      May I encourage others to try a Presto?

      Here is how to do it…

      1) Create 10 slides preferably with little text and lots of images
      2) In PowerPoint go to the Slide Sorter view and click on Transition, then add the 20 sec under Advance Slide (bottom right) and uncheck the ‘On mouse click’ functionality
      3) You do not need a virtual classroom to record it, in fact you can record a presto there in this slide sorter view and if you should not see the recorder function (I am actually not so sure whether every PowerPoint has this, it might have gotten installed with my Camtasia) then please correct me if I am wrong.
      4) Personally, I love to see the presenter smile and in this recording menu of PowerPoint you can also record your webcam. This is very smart.
      5) What is also a great choice is prezi, but I am not sure whether you can actuall auto-forward the moves to the next point that you are making and this is the actual key of doing a presto, you should not have any control over the slides, they should auto-advance.

      There are a few things that you will notice doing this…

      a) It looks easy and cool but it isn’t
      b) You’ll learn to use precise and concise wording
      c) You can not read from a script because the slides move too fast and best of all
      d) you can not use lots of bullet points. You HAVE to use images.

      Some of you are showing your students this presto, what a great idea.

      Don’t fail to show them the following speedy presentation too on ‘Ancient Twitter’


    2. Tamas,

      Thank you for the support! You should do a PRESTO. You would be great, because you are very passionate about teaching and have so much experience in so many areas. I would love to see your presentation.

  5. BRAVO! That was wunderbar… hee hee.. I don’t know how to spell in German!! Awesome job! Have a GREAT DAY!!!

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