Educator Use of Social Networks

When I first began to use twitter, I thought it an unusual concept. What could I say and who would I follow? What would communicating openly look like? What could it possibly have to offer educators?

That was September of 2008. I found out quickly that it was an incredible and powerful tool.  Once I began to use it, I quickly realized the immense benefits in terms of professional learning, building community and shared ideas.  A study I came across this week underscored those benefits and caused me to reflect on what drew me in.

Making a Social Network Meaningful

What was really beneficial to me in this shift was how I happened upon Twitter. It was in a workshop held for 20 of our high schools in the Archdiocese of Phila. We had 5 people from each school including administrators and teachers. In looking back what got me hooked was knowing I’d be connecting initially to people I already knew.

The fact that others in our schools were getting onto Twitter meant a lot to me. I wanted to delve into it myself. The fact that our workshop was being led by others well versed in using twitter did too. (Willrich45, snbeach)
It was:

  • Social
  • Professionally Enriching
  • An Place to Connect with Like-Minded Educators

What Does the Research Say?

In reading this article posted in Edweek, I recalled what drew me in and still does! – connecting with like minded individuals who shared the same interests.

The article highlights data collected by MMS Education noting a trend towards private social networking and online communities. Though open and public social networking is here to stay, private communities have a solid base and that base if growing! Private communities allow for both a more targeted and seemingly safer way to connect with others for educators.

26 percent of teachers said they would join a new social network tailored to educators in the next year, while only 5 percent said they would join a new network for personal use

Social networks are now an integral part of the lives of many. Perhaps this study reflects your own practice. If so, what do you find to be most beneficial to you?

As school leaders and teacher leaders, will you encourage others to join a social network for educators? Will you build a social network of your own?

 


 

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