Being a Connected Educator
What affect, if any, could/does being a connected educator have on your classroom? Directly, I don’t know of any teachers who use social media for their classes in our school. As a school district, we have a Twitter account that shares awards, field trips, and construction updates among other things. Other activities and programs also use Twitter to update their followers on meets, games, scores, and progresses throughout their program/activities. The article How Becoming A Connected Educator Saved My Career hit the nail on the head with traditional professional development and teachers being herded and listening as opposed to collaborating and sharing stories and experiences. Side note: don’t sit by the older, negative teacher who has nothing good to say about ANYTHING. This is where, indirectly, a teacher can use social media and the power of professional collaboration. You get to the point and don’t have to listen to Mr/Mrs. Negative. I follow #nebchat as a lurker throughout the school year and find much value to that compared to some of our PD days.
Research: 9 in 10 Teachers Don’t Use Social Media In The Classroom said 44% of teachers said social media can enhance a students educational experience, but the lack of tools and training top the list of an educator’s concern. Maybe a shared vision throughout the school would be a better way to lead teacher’s on expectations and their use of classroom social media and digital citizenship. Sometimes this vision is too vague, leaving teachers on their own. I do like the flexibility teacher’s get, but many times this flexibility doesn’t allow teachers to get out of their comfort zones. If we are continuing to want our students to use technology as a tool, we as teachers need to model that behavior as well. Nonetheless, school guidelines can help and give direction to teachers on using social media. It’s important that there is transparency when using social media to prevent any trouble for the teacher. In summary, I believe a school should provide guidelines for teachers who directly connect social media to their classrooms. What should it look like, which content is important and people want to see/share? Indirectly, I believe teachers need to reach out and connect with other teachers out there whether that’s Twitter, blogging, or PLN and continue to grow as an educator.