The Social Media JourneyPosted: December 11, 2011
UPDATED: Added a new list of NVSD Educators on Twitter
The journey with social media for educators seems to be easy for some and difficult for others. The use of Twitter, blogs, etc. can be powerful tools for professional growth, connecting us with others and initiating and continuing dialogue farther reaching than ever before.
Some educators newer to our profession have grown up with technology, and the experiences and understanding developed can be applied to newer tools. For others, technology is now far different from our early experiences. I referenced some of the “technology” of my childhood in an earlier post.
As an educator, technology has been in my tool box, and I have used what’s required when required. However, technology was not my world. I have a Facebook account which I don’t use, and still don’t quite understand. For years, I had heard about celebrities and athletes using Twitter to publicize where they were, what they were doing, and even what they were eating. For me, at the time, there was little attraction or value.
After ignoring it for years, I started experimenting with Twitter last Spring. At that time, my purpose was to receive up-to-date information on some issues that were relevant to my work. As my role changed and I became connected to other responsibilities, I had the opportunity to see how Twitter could be used for accessing other information, particularly for professional development. My eyes were opened while attending the DL Spring Conference, featuring a keynote by @gcouros and @courosa. Twitter for me is still not as interactive as it is for others, and as what I had hoped, but what I’m currently getting out of it for professional development has been irreplaceable.
During the summer, I started reading the blogs of other educators, and quickly began to visit their sites frequently. I then learned more about RSS and RSS readers, which made following blogs so much easier.
I started experimenting with creating and using blogs to better understand how they could be used in the classroom with students. My thought at the time was that I couldn’t encourage and support teachers’ use of blogs with their students if I didn’t understand them myself. I created this blog as an experiment and have used it infrequently to process, refine, and articulate my own thoughts. Using a blog, I’ve found, is not too difficult, but writing publicly much harder. I also created a professional development blog for the staff in my building to share. Our building Professional Development blog is still in its early stages and not yet well used, but my hope was, and still is, that it will become an interactive site which will include the contributions of many, not just those within the building.
In our District there are a number of educators using social media in a variety of ways. Many of our schools have blogs, Twitter accounts, and Facebook accounts to share news and current events. Many teachers use blogs to share class news and to remind students and parents of homework and assignments, and some have students blogging as part of the writing process. Some schools are now experimenting with Edmodo, which is apparently Facebook-like. Some educators are regular users of Twitter, and some have their own blogs to share and reflect. One of my favourites has been @campbellwells, who uses Twitter and blogs regularly. The enthusiasm for his day-to-day work comes out in every tweet and post. As technology use in the district begins to move towards being better encouraged and supported it will be interesting to witness the journeys of staff and students.
Below are links to some educators in our District who use Twitter followed by a District account. Also below are links to blogs of educators in our district. I suspect there are many more, and over time I hope to add to this list.
(image shared by maxw on flickr cc)