A week ago, I attended the Central East Alberta Teachers’ Convention. As usual, I enjoyed the networking and the convention sessions. It is nice to connect and share with colleagues.
This year, however, was additionally satisfying as I discovered I had learned a skill that I could share with other teachers. I noticed a push, or a pulse, toward online social networking at the Convention. Teachers were talking about it. And sessions were providing resources for it.
During the Convention, I had a great conversation with a vice principal of one of the schools where I substitute about social networking and how a few months ago I ventured into the land of tweets and blogs. I offered her a summary of resources that I used to learn how to digitally network. And she was interested. This was great; I was thrilled to be useful. But it got better. Since the Convention, another teacher asked me for more information; we had agreed to exchange session information beforehand, but this information was bonus. I combined the two requests and shared the resources with these two teachers.
I realized that others might also be interested, so I decided to post publicly about how I started social networking. This then is my first response to the 2011 Central East Alberta Teachers’ Convention. It is also a summary of much of my professional development this school year.
If you are just delving into social networking and want to know how to do so, the following information might help you. Even if you are a veteran, you might find these resources a strong way to enhance your portfolio.
Why social network?
Melonie Gallegos | more info (via: Wylio)
Social technology is about mutual, and public, sharing. There are two general reasons it is used in education. In both cases, it is a tool only; it should never be an end onto itself.
- Broadly, technology is used to share, to network, to create Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and to develop professionally. Social media activities, such as tweeting, blogging, commenting, social bookmarking and RSS feed reading, serve this purpose. Several secondary activities, such as video creation, slide sharing, imaging and audio creation, enhance these activities.
- Specifically, technology is used to create learning opportunities using specialized relevant tools. Any of thousands (and growing) of Web 2.0 and 3.0 tools serve this purpose. The tool should enrich and enhance learning, not distract from it. Best practices should be in effect.
To learn how to use Twitter and other social media
Study the webinar series, Using Social Media for Transformative Teaching & Learning, presented by George and Alec Couros. Each webinar is 1.5 hours long, plus there are several activities that you are asked to do on your own time. But it is worth it! (I have encountered many baffled teachers who just jumped into social media without any immersion.)
To learn how to blog and set up a blog
Participate in the Teacher Challenge Kick Start Your Blogging (KSYB). This Challenge consists of eight activities and is designed to take 30 heavy days to complete. There are several Challenges running throughout this year, but the “old” ones are still active. A new wave of teachers is just starting KSYB.
In addition, the Twitter hashtag #ksyb is used to network with others in the Challenge and to advertise your Challenge posts. Several of us who already took the KSYB Challenge still use that hashtag to keep in touch and advertise current posts we publish. In essence, we created a KSYB PLN. Anyone is welcome to join.
To learn how to create a professional education portfolio
A professional education portfolio is an extension of a blog. It is found in the pages part of the blog and illustrates throughout a student’s, teacher’s or administrator’s career how she or he meets the outcomes or quality standards for his or her position. In essence, it is a specialized illustrative resume that goes beyond standard or outcome descriptions, grades and bullet statements.
Participate in the short North Central Teachers’ Convention tutorial, Creating A WordPress Portfolio, again by George Couros. Pay particular attention to his answer to “What does the portfolio portion of our blog look like?” under Other Links. In his answer, he shows examples of student, teacher and administrator portfolios and explains how the portfolio can follow the individual rather than the institution. This portfolio can be used on an individual, class or school-wide basis.
A selection of (ever-growing) resources to jump start your social networking
Twitter: How to Navigate – Hash Tags, Chats, People and Lists
- Educational Hash Tags
- Educational Chats on Twitter
- Listorious Education Lists (also)
- Listorious Education People (also)
- Canadian Educators
- Who to Follow in Twitter
- Who I Follow — you must have a Twitter account to access; not all those I follow are educators
- How to Build Your PLN on Twitter
- Once Upon a Time a Teacher Joined Twitter …
- Personal Learning Networks
- The Importance of a PLN
- 5 Readings and 2 Videos to Help Others Get Going with Personal Learning Networks
- Innovative Ideas for Getting Teachers Excited About Building Their Personal Learning Networks
- Why Networked Learning Matters
- Stages of PLN adoption
- Hiring the World to Be Your Professional Development Provider (free of charge)
- Creating Meaningful Professional Development
- Educators as Collaborators: 25+ Resources
- Have You Ever Wondered: What is a “TweetUp”?
- The Educator’s PLN
- Twitter in Plain English
- Twitter for Teachers
- Twitter – It’s All About the Conversation
- An Educators Guide To Twitter
- Academic Excellence in 140 Characters
- How Tweets and Texts Nurture In-Depth Analysis
- 25 Important Twitter Guides and Apps For Teachers
- 8 Reasons An Innovative Educator Uses Twitter
- The Power of Twitter
- #edchat Revisited
- A world of tweets
- My Twitter Anniversary Gift to my PLN
- Blogs in Plain English
- Teacher Challenge – Free professional learning
- The A-Z List: How Twitter Can Make You A Better Blogger
- Blogging Prompts for Teacher Candidates
- 5 Questions One Should Ask Before Selecting Blogging as Career
- 100 Seriously Cool Classroom Blogs for Teaching Ideas & Inspiration
Tech in the Classroom
- Technology is a Tool, Not a Teaching Technique
- What Teenagers Think About Facebook, Twitter and MySpace
- Fakebook and Twister – Create custom social media pages for learning
- Why We Should Be Teaching Social Media
- Bring the World in – Blogging with Your Students
- How to Start an Online Program
- Stefras’ Tools for and Types of Active Learning
- Stefras’ Diigo Resources
- Ten steps for better media literacy skills
- Goblin game – a game to teach students about plagiarism
- 22 Interesting Ways to Support Writing in the Classroom
- BigHuge Labs
- Livebinder: Comics: 25+ Create your own
- Thinking Maps
- Evernote for Students: The Ultimate Research Tool
- Book Analysis Using Glogster
- WebQuests + Web 2.0 = WebQuest 2.0
- Can’t access YouTube in class? VuSafe lets educators search for relevant safe video
- Don’t Be Surprised By Resistance
- Why are my kids resisting everything “fun” I plan for them?
- The Lesson as an Obstacle
I further discuss Twitter and the building of a PLN in a previous post.Follow @stefras