Friday, April 6, 2012

Social Networking for the 21st Century Teacher

"While the old web was about websites, clicks, and "eyeballs", the new web is about communities, participation and peering."  Tapscott and Williams, 2006 (page 83, Web 2.0 for Educators, Solomon and Schrum, 2010)

That quote really sums up how I now view my Internet interactions-especially when I have my "teacher hat" on.  Our assignment for week 5 was to explore new social networking sites.  

I already use Facebook quite often, but mostly for my personal life.  I "liked" pages noted in our assignments folder, as well as some of the pages of other education blogs I read.  I like getting the updates to blog posts via Facebook.  It is quicker than me checking in to the blog itself or even my Google Reader, and I can get a little snippet of the post to know if I need to check it out further.  I like this new tool  :).

I also use Pinterest...a LOT.  **I just added a "Follow Me on Pinterest" button on my sidebar if you would like to see some of my boards.  I loo-O-oove Pinterest!  Several teachers at my school are also"Pin-a-holics" like me.  When we see each others bulletin board displays or other classroom ideas we joke about how we "found it on Pinterest".  Because we all follow each other, we also share lots of ideas without even having to think about it.  One great example is this behavior management system that almost every grade level and teacher began using this year simply because we pinned it off of each other over the summer then talked about it when we came back together in August.  Now that most of us are using the same system, we have a common language about behavior choices.  This will really help next year when our school moves to PBIS and we already have the groundwork ready.  Because Pinterest brought us together.

I signed up for the following Nings-TeacherLibrarian, Teacher Vodcasting and Flipped Classroom Network, and iPads in Education, as well as The Educator's PLN.  I especially like reading through the posts in the forums of these networks.  The discussions in the threads are really interesting to read.  I have even replied in a few of them.  It really makes you feel like you are part of an extended teaching-and learning-community.  

I know I have said this before, but to say that all of this new information flooding toward me from JUST this course is overwhelming is an understatement.  It's all for good, but I am very glad that summer break is just around the corner and I will have more time to really digest it all and wrap my brain around how I would like implement some of these ideas in my classroom for next year.  And beyond.


  1. Heather,
    I too love Pinterest! I have found so many helpful ideas for my library. I love that it is so easy to use, find things you're looking for, and the way you can organize your own boards is so helpful. I think it's definitely my favorite social networking site. I like that you don't have to be very personal with Pinterest. You can "follow" people without really knowing them. You don't really have to communicate with others in order to get some really great stuff and ideas. I did my Twitter chat the other night, and while I got some good info and ideas, I had to spend nearly an hour 1/2 on Twitter. Pinterest on the other hand is so quick and easy to use, you can find things without spending hours (although it is easy to get sucked in)

  2. Heather - I hate to hear that you are so overwhelmed. :( I have really tried not to include too much in each week. The biggest part of this course is to create your PLN and there are so many resources out there to do that. You don't have to stick with and use everything you are learning in this course. My goal is to expose you to the resources and then you can choose what works for you. I guess you are getting your moneys worth learning in this course. Ha! I'll be looking for feedback from you and the others at the end of this course on how to make it better and maybe not as overwhelming for future students.

  3. By the way....I saw your tweet to me about Google+ and the circles. Google+ is another tool you can add to your PLN. Since several people in our course are so overwhelmed I decided to skip that site. I could have added it to the other social networks resources last week. It would have been fun if I would have designed a project around using a Google Circle. :) Everyone would have been more overwhelmed. What do you think?

    1. As one of those who is a bit overwhelmed at times, I have to say I think I would have enjoyed a project using Google+. There is alot to learn, but I appreciate the "push" to explore the different resources. Some I have found incredibly useful and I know I will continue to use. Others are interesting, but not as helpful. I think it depends on your personal preferences and the community of people involved in each tool. I do not feel overwhelmed by the amount of work in the course, but by the volume of information I am connecting to!

    2. Val-

      I totally agree with your thoughts! I have definitely found some great new resources because of this class...and personal preference will most likely dictate what I continue to use. I love Twitter-and I thought I would never be a Tweeter! I appreciate that Google + was not included in this course too ;-). But before this class, it wouldn't have even been on my radar. Now I know I will be checking it out at some point in my "free time".

  4. Hi Heather. I agree. It is a lot of info to take in and I spent several weeks feeling pretty overwhelmed too. I was working on all of it at night and found myself unable to fall asleep because it was all still rolling around in my head. But something happened when I started setting time limits for myself. I also started adding things to my delicious account that I wanted to go back to later. Maybe we're a lot alike. I have a hard time skimming and scanning for information. I'm more the "jump in, try it out, take the time now, person. I read every word and I look further for information. That seems to be a curse with the amount of info that PLN's provide.