This week we read articles and watched chat feeds about being connected via social media. Almost exclusively focusing on Twitter as the kind of social media. I learned that you need to understand what you’re talking about and how to use Web 2.0 tools. That the best way to learn new things ourselves is to ask others. Being connected through Twitter especially is an easy way to get quick and direct feedback. But be on the other end of it too, if you know the answer to a question or have a similar experience reach out or reflect upon your experience and maybe even throw in a hashtag #.
The chat that I watched was the #IAedchat that occurred mostly Sunday morning. The chat was entitled ‘Connecting the Dots’. They had time reminders saying when they were going to start and then people introduced themselves and where they are located. A few questions were asked then the rest seemed to be just interaction between those people participating. Their chat was about creating a PLN and/or finding your PLN. It helps you gain ideas and helps keep you positive in your practice. I think this topic was chosen because this month is Connected Educators Month.
Some people that I follow on Twitter are current teachers in random subjects, some technology people from schools, and music groups. I follow teachers in subjects that aren’t music because sometimes it works out well to adjust something that worked well in their classroom for my classroom. The technology based people because I am learning about integrating technology and 1:1 schools and I figured following these people was the best way to learn without a face to face conversation. And lastly I follow a lot of music groups: other schools bands’, National music education groups, and even the Iowa based groups.
I think Twitter chats are a cool thing. They allow people to have a messaging conversation without having to add others to the discussion. You can post and it is not limited in who can see or respond. I did notice that they go fast and that when you want to look back through them there are just so many that you have to scroll through. I could see myself participating once I have a little more experience. I just think that you have an instant environment where you won’t be judged for your questions and your feedback is general but still helpful, that would be a nice thing to have on hand.
Tips for a teacher that is new to Twitter or social networking:
1) You’re not the only one seeing this and your students may find it so make sure it is something appropriate and isn’t too personal necessarily.
2) Use it as a positive tool, there are so many people connect through these different forms of media you may create a ‘partner in crime’ with someone across the nation.
3) Be willing to try new tools and things because your students may already know them.
4) Use it to learn!