Find Your Online Community
The internet is a great place to learn more about our craft as teachers. But, the internet is vast, and if you don’t know where to look it’s easy to spend hours online searching for lesson plans and techniques and not find what you want. Sometimes it frustrates people to extremes, like the man in Colorado who finally got fed up and shot his computer to death.
If you are looking for great teacher insights, there are a couple great first stops. Teachers are talking and posting on Pinterest and Twitter in droves! If you are not on there yet, make a profile and start messing around with them today. Seriously. Slate claims that Pinterest is actually filling a hole created by our current, one-size-fits-all Professional Development system. In contrast, Pinterest helps teachers find and share resources and ideas that are specifically relevant to their courses and students.
Pinterest was created to be an online bulletin board. At one point in time people would search through magazines and tear out pages they found inspiring and put them together in the physical work, but Pinterest allows you to do that virtually, so it’s faster and more organized than the old way. Teachers have been crafting pins that highlight lesson plans, projects, and activities that one can digest and adopt more quickly than reading through detailed lesson plans. It’s also incredibly visual. It’s much easier to see a finished project and envision how to modify it for your class than to read through a scripted plan and apply that to your lesson. Get online, make an account and search for a education board to follow.
Sometimes you just need an immediate shot of inspiration, and then you find it and say to yourself, “Of course! Gummy Bear Political Systems!”
Twitter is a communication tool. First, educators follow other teachers and educational organizations to get ideas about lessons and resources. Second, they use twitter to reach out to companies, journalist, and thought leaders and can often get very quick responses. Sometimes teachers even answer each other’s questions and participate in the genuine dialogue we all crave. Third, teachers use Twitter to discuss certain topics, often in an organized twitter chat taking place at an appointed time with a fitting hashtag (#) that allows all comments made with the # in the tweet to be read at once. Twitter is an incredibly efficient way to share ideas and resources.
In short, get on both, and get moving! Please follow us, tweet us to say ‘hi’, and let us know how these tools are working for you.