What is Social Media?
Social media allows us to be more connected to others whether it be within the profession, fellow subject teachers or students. It provides opportunities to communicate, collaborate and connect with other networks via the internet and hence worldwide.
“because at the very heart of teaching and learning we are connected, we share ideas, we build collective intelligence with our students and connected educators know how to take learning beyond the walls of the classroom” (Nussbaum-Beach S. 2016)
My social media involvement is mainly Facebook at present, widely used for personal benefit and growing for my professional benefit. I am member of many private groups from community based to those for mums. I am also a member of many private groups to enhance my teaching for example NZ subject groups, ILE and collaboration and Mindlab groups. My involvement in most groups could be classed as a watcher or follower not always contributing. I learn a huge amount to help inform my teaching and my own personal learning but I have to admit I am not at the moment a great sharer to the wider communities. Other social media I am connected through are boards on Pinterest which I have shared with students. These worked well for research standards, although it was led by me, it would have been great to encourage students to contribute to the boards.
Social Media use in the classroom and a teaching aid.
In a previous blog I had expressed my concern about using Facebook in class and being ‘friends’ with my students. On a personal level I still want to keep that boundary but my mindset on using in the class to aid learning has been changed due to activities this week in school. If I had a Facebook group for my Level 2 class this week, their level of preparation would have been much higher, by their own admission! Why fight something which I experience as a hinderance of time and instead use it to my advantage. Many students at my school work very much on the ‘just in time’ need to know basis. No matter how much I try to ensure all know what is happening next lesson from Tuesday to Friday ( through verbal, written and google classroom communication) Student’s still turn up on Friday morning and say ” what are we doing today? WHAT we have an assessment?” Alas if only I had posted in Facebook the previous afternoon. I have previously had Facebook groups 2 years ago where discussions took place between students themselves and myself and I will be creating some again next year!
There are also so many companies and establishments using Facebook within my subject area that it could also encourage those connections beyond our school to help make the students more connected and communicate about their learning outside the classroom.
Professional development and Social Media
Being a connected educator is definitely someone I would like to say I was, but I definitely have a long way to go. One of Edutopia’s top tips for being connected is to ‘just jump in’. The second part of the Mindlab course has been an opportunity to do just that and I am learning about the benefits of communicating with like minded people and I am making small changes in my practice to gain the benefits, like following people on Twitter and using for professional purposes not for personal. Interestingly my school has just shared the plan for our teacher professional development once the all the seniors have left will be in the style of a conference with a live twitter feed! We will be encouraged to participate in this connected way, a great opportunity to try it out.
The potential for Core Connected Educator to help improve the connected New Zealand teachers like myself is huge. The advantage of online courses without the travelling and increased flexibility of time helps us working mums. Although I have found that at times talking about an issue before writing about it helps my understanding and clarity.
ConnectedEducatorNZ (2016) Retrieved from, http://connectededucator.org.nz
Edutopia, Leoni, E. (2014). Ten Tips for becoming a connected educator. Retreived from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/10-tips-become-connected-educator-elana-leoni
Nussbaum-Beach S., (2016) Retrieved from: http://connectededucator.org.nz/blog/2016/09/06/sheryl-nussbaum-beach-on-being-a-connected-educator/