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?

 


 

Too Much Texting

It’s likely that you have a smartphone. If not, most regular phones allow us to send text messages. We as a society have gradually gotten somewhat used to being available by text 24/7.  What if any conversations should we be having about Texting Etiquette?

According to Shelly Turkle, a clinical psychologist and the founder of MIT’s  Initiative on Technology and Self, “The pull of these devices is so strong, that we’ve become used to them faster than anyone would have suspected”.

Yesterday, I read this article in the New York Times by a student who is questioning her own use of technology and specifically her cell phone.

She concludes, “The worst part of my whole experience was realizing that I really am addicted to my phone. One study described Internet addicts as those using the Internet an average of 38 hours per week for nonacademic or non-employment purposes. These days, most people accumulate that many hours before Wednesday. When I have my phone with me, I check it literally every five minutes. This is something that I didn’t even realize until I stopped using it altogether.

So here’s my final take-away: I’m going to spend more time in the real world and less bonding with my phone.”

In the video below, college students from St. Joseph’s University tackle the issue with a PSA about Texting Etiquette.

We know this is not just an issue for young people. In our own lives we may notice that either we or others are referring a little too often to that ever present phone. When it comes to using my phone in the presence of others, I consciously try to be respectful of others. This may include turning off my phone or turning the volume off. Even so – I know I can be guilty of this. -Checking email, Facebook, twitter, or answering a seemingly important text.

Perhaps at a meeting a request has been made for everyone to stay off of their phones. Families may set rules for phone use. We are all figuring this out together as we go perhaps.

Banning phones is not the answer. In fact, there are plenty of positive ways to use this technology both in the classroom and out.

What do you think?  Will ‘phone etiquette’ become commonplace? How can we do that if phones are not allowed in school?

Should texting etiquette be part of the digital citizenship or netiquette we teach at school? Perhaps it is – IMHO : )

Connected Educators A to Z – T is for Twitter

Twitter is a powerful tool for connecting with others. It is one social media tool that continues to intrigue us and connect us in new ways all the time.
First just a whisper, twitter arrived on the scene in 2007. Twitter was mocked by some but embraced by others. I started using it in September 2008 to connect with other technology and education professionals. It has been an amazing tool for connecting, learning and collaborating.

I had the opportunity to work with a group of teachers learning about using Twitter for the classroom. Below is the presentation given to Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor.

Related Resources

If you are new to twitter and are looking for others to follow, check out this list of people to follow in education by Edudemic.