Posted in Edublogs

Social Media

tree-200795_1920EduBlogsClub Prompt #19:

Prompt: Write a post about social media

Here are some possible topics to help get you started:

  • Do you use social media to share with parents or your school community?
  • How have you used social media in the classroom with students?
  • How do you use social media to make you a better teacher?
  • Do you have guidelines that you use with students?
  • Have you experienced a story related to the use of social media?
  • What do you think is next for the use of social media in education?

I just recently noticed that my Twitter account is 10 years old this month. I smiled when I noticed that, and proceeded to tell my husband who simply looked at me with an expression that conveyed “So what?” For me, being on Twitter for 10 years and having over 3,000 tweets seemed to be a milestone. While Twitter isn’t the only form of social media, I have to say it is my favorite for getting news and information related to my interests as a mother, educator, and voting member of society. I had long found traditional news sources unappealing. Newspapers and local news broadcasts always seemed to highlight the tragic crimes people commit against one another, instead of spending more time highlighting the good things happening in our local community and beyond.

I had to pause a moment as I wrote this post to reflect on what it was that got me on social media 10 years ago. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was my involvement with the Discovery Educator Network. (I just visited that link and my photo is still on the home page! 🙂 ) It was just over 10 years ago that I came to work at my former school site. I had transferred sites craving the opportunity to work with passionate and innovative educators, and I was not disappointed. Within the first year at my former school site I was introduced to the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) and my world exploded…in a good way. I had an incredible amount of access to educators outside of my immediate site and their wealth of edtech knowledge. I learned about Web 2.0 tools and was able to go to summer institutes where we learned all about the latest and greatest app or program to use with students, and how to use it effectively. It was because of the DEN that I bothered with Twitter at all. It was because of the DEN that I was taught the power of social media and how I could harness it for my own professional development. I had a virtual PLC before I even knew what a PLC was. If you have never heard of the DEN, I highly recommend you check out their website.

My Twitter account is something that has always been open to parents for the following, but I don’t recall any parents ever following me. I think that was largely due to the fact that I taught elementary school and many parents were not thinking about social media much, and the few that were and were on social media were not interested in following their child’s 3rd grade teacher. For the longest time I tried to keep my Twitter strictly education related, but over the years I have allowed it to represent more of who I am as I share and retweet things related to non-education things.

I don’t like creating multiple social media accounts as they get overwhelming to manage very quickly, but I did use my own Twitter account on several live virtual field trips I took my students on in order to participate in the discussion. I would live tweet and project the hashtag for my students to see and they were always excited to see themselves as a part of the global discussion, if only through my Twitter account.

Being that I taught young students and knowing the importance of teaching them digital citizenship, I embarked on using Edmodo in my 4th grade classroom. It was my hope to use it as a safe school pseudo-Facebook. I used it for everything. We had discussions there, we all would post things for discussion, respond to one another, etc. It amazed me how quickly a couple of my 4th graders became “trolls.” It was a very valuable learning experience for everyone involved. The experience opened up a real dialog on what it means to be a good digital citizen. My school district does not have an official learning management system (LMS), but Edmodo is the closest LMS tool that we have.  I would highly recommend that teachers of any level use something like Edmodo or their district’s LMS to be able to safely mimic social media and teach their students valuable lessons in digital citizenship.

How do you use social media in your personal or professional life? Share with me in the comments below. 🙂

Author:

Wife, mother, K-8 National Board Certified Teacher, doctoral student and dog lover. Passionate about educational technology, academic innovation, and redesigning the American educational system.

5 thoughts on “Social Media

  1. Hi Mélanie,
    Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful post about how not only you learned and engaged yourself in meaningful relationships through social media but also how you enhanced your students digital citizenship and tooke them in safety to the large ocean of the web. I would like to answer to this prompt too, but I can say right now that, so far, my favourite social media have been both Edublogs Community and Twitter. The first, for the high human quality and technical support I’ve always generously found, namely from Sue Waters and Sue Wyatt, teaching me every detail needed to set up a blog, to keep blogging and commenting and have my young students in safety on the student blogging challenges; the second, because it is a wonderful tool to connect with passionate educators and to keep following along the path of school change and innovation.
    Ines

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Ines! I agree with you, EduBlogs and Twitter are both amazing communities for educators to engage. While I have been aware of EduBlogs for a long time, I have never gotten as full engaged with them as I have via the EduBlogsClub. I am pretty sure I even signed up to participate in the challenge before, but never participated. I am so glad I signed on again and made myself do every post, even though I am so far behind. I have really enjoyed reading the posts of other educators and having opportunities to engage with others around the world. If I was back at a school site, I would definitely use EduBlogs with my students. 🙂

  2. Hi Melanie,

    Happy 10 year Twitter anniversary! I joined in March 2009 I believe. It took me a while to figure out how and why I’d want to use it initially but once I got going I really loved it. Twitter even became a topic I presented on a number of times. I loved sharing it with other teachers.

    I use Twitter for mostly education related topics and I found myself drifting away while on family leave (I have a 4yo and 2.5yo), however I have really been getting back into it lately and wondering why I ever left!

    I totally agree with you about the news and stay away from it most of the time!

    How cool you’re still on the Discovery Education homepage.

    I was interested to read about Edmodo too. I know about 5 years ago that was very popular and I was actually just wondering recently if it’s used much any more? I haven’t heard as much about it.It can be hard to gauge what is popular sometimes though.

    Thanks for another great post,
    Kathleen

    1. Thank you Kathleen! I agree, it can be hard to tell what is still out there given how many cool new tools appear on the edtech scene every year. I can say with confidence that Edmodo is still out there and still being used. As I mentioned, my district really doesn’t have an LMS and Edmodo is as close as we will come to one. My district approves which sites teachers can use, and Edmodo was added to the list a few years back.

      As for Twitter, my experience with it has been a bit like yours. I got it early on because of other educators, but then barely really used it, then somewhere along the line (probably due to all the conferences I tend to go to), it became clear to me that Twitter was where it was at and I began to pay it more mind. These days I look at my Twitter feed several times a day. I even have an app called Twitter Ticker that runs my tweets past me all day. Since I work at the district office, I have an iPad I use for that sole purpose…to display my tweets as they come in. That way as I work on whatever it is I am doing, I can always glance at my feed and click on a tweet of interest, or like or retweet. Its a very handy app and I highly recommend it for staying up to date on what is going on in your Twitterverse. 🙂

      1. That is really interesting to hear about Edmodo. Thanks for sharing your experience.

        I hadn’t heard of Twitter Tracker either. I will have to check that one out!

        Thanks!

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