Week 30: Professional Online Social Networks

Using social online networks in teaching or professional development

Social media in my professional environment is a relatively new entity for me. Prior to my current position, I was working in a closed private school environment where professional social media was not the norm. However in saying that, I have been an active social member on Facebook for over 10 years, using it to keep in touch with friends and organise social events. I also use Facebook for the community organisations I am involved in.

After professional discussions with colleagues about their use of social media, I took the plunge and invested time into getting ‘connected’. Below I have listed the professional social media aspects I now use, and how they are utilised:

  • Twitter – I use this to connect with others around the world, I extend this network by following presenters, educators I meet at courses and other staff members. I will also follow companies of educational products that I buy, to be kept up to date with the latest innovations.
  • Youtube – I use this to post instructional videos for students to be self directed in their learning, and to find out knowledge that I am in need of learning myself. To a lesser extent I also check out teachertube from time to time.
  • WordPress – Blogging is something I started to use during the Mindlab course. I find it a great way to share ideas and record notes, and have others comment on and discuss these ideas. It’s also a great way to keep everything together for PTC evidence of professional learning.
  • Google+ –  Mindlab introduced me to Google+,  this is great to connect with like minded people to discuss concepts and to ask professional questions of. This is great as we are all on the same wavelength.

I can now truely see the benefit of adding social media to my professional development repertoire. Being able to link with professionals world wide, and keep up to date with current trends is an amazing tool. As stated in the Connected Educators video, how do you know you’re doing well, and how do you know you have the best tools to support learning, without being connected to educators worldwide.

An important aspect of being connected though, is the keeping of private and professional life seperate, as discussed last week, mixing the two can lead to serious ethical issues.

So what are my goals, well firstly it is to grow my Twitter network, and be more involved in Twitter education events like #edchatnz. Secondly it is to keep blogging on my WordPress, reflect on learning, lessons and PD. Thirdly is to explore how we can use social media in my classroom programme, do I create a Twitter handle for my room and allow students to use it (supervised) to tweet questions to people like @MeetEdison and @medickinson, should I use WordPress for student learning portfolios rather that Google sites, as the audience is larger and more authentic?

My online social network is in its infancy, but I hope that within a year it is streaming along nicely.

Office of Ed Tech. (2013, Sep 18). Connected Educators. . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=216&v=K4Vd4JP_DB8


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