Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Social Media as a Professional Development Tool

October is Connected Educator month and so I have set myself a challenge to write a blog post at least once a week during October. I'm starting with a post that I think is very apt - talking about about social media as PLD. 

Online communities are great sources of information and support and in recent times have reached a sort of tipping point where the numbers of educators involved has taken them into the realms of more mainstream PLD. Where once it was rare to find teachers who tweeted or were involved in online communities, it is now becoming almost the norm. 

It won't be long before the unconnected teacher is the exception rather than the rule. More and more teachers are realising that it is not only their students who need to be capable, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.

So why are these online communities gaining popularity? Well for a start they are virtually free, other than the cost of the data and the device to access them. And let's face it, most people already have an internet-capable device.

Secondly, you will be interacting with educators from a wide range of backgrounds from diverse communities. You can just lurk and read what others have to say or take the next step and make a contribution, ask for help or even answer someone else's question.

How connected are you? You can take this survey to find out. I was 2 points off being a Web Celeb, maybe blogging a little more frequently will bump me up. What will you do this month to bump up your score and help you become a more connected educator?

My challenge to you in Connected Educator month is to sign up and attend at least one event. The great thing is that you don't even need to leave home to do it. Then join at least one online community, whether it be Twitter (suggested educators to follow - I am @jkellow), the VLN or an education-related Facebook group like my Inquiry group, EdudemicEdutopiaTED Talks or Te@chthought

Or follow some educators on Pinterest and start your own Pinterest boards, get the Pin it extension for your browser and start pinning sites that interest you to your boards. You can check out my boards here and see what is possible.

Or maybe you could start your own blog. Many teachers already have a class blog and this is a good place to start but you could also start a personal blog to reflect on your teaching or share your own learning with others. You might even get some feedback. 7 Reasons Why Teachers Should Blog. You could also follow some of your favourite educational bloggers. See the sidebar for some of my favourites or to follow this blog. 52 Educational Bloggers to Follow

While you are at it, why not get your school connected if it isn't already. Lots of schools are now using Facebook and Twitter to connect with parents. Creating a Dynamic Facebook Page for your School 

So go on, dip your toes in the water, take the plunge and make new connections. You'll soon find out which ones work for you.

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