Teachers, by trade, are beggars, borrowers, and thieves — but in the best way possible. As a former public school teacher and now an educator within a network of microschools, I know firsthand the importance of collaborating beyond my immediate network of teachers.
We beg, borrow, and steal in order to give our kids the best experience possible.
And one of the best ways to do this is through social media, simply because exposing ourselves to a wide variety of perspectives and resources helps us to see that there are, in fact, myriad ways to teach the same thing. Are you an educator looking to break into the world of social media? Use these five tips to help!
1. Twitter and Twitter Chats
I use Twitter to stay connected to other educators and to build my professional learning network, mainly through participation in Twitter Chats. Twitter Chats (#edchat and #edtechchat, among others) are generally moderated by someone prominent in the field and operate off of a variety of questions within a given theme. For instance, just a few weeks ago, I participated in one surrounding the SAMR model for technology integration. This was not only helpful to see what innovative educators are doing in order to use this framework within their classroom, but it also provided me with about 30 new educators within my digital network of collaborators. The conversations, while fast-paced and sometimes difficult to follow, saturate me with new ideas.
2. Social Media Cross-Pollination
Twitter also provides me an outlet to share on my blog. I frequently tweet out my links, and as a result, I’ve gained many new followers as well as people who’ve read and reached out to me to discuss things I’m doing in my classroom.
3. More is More
When considering how to use social media as an educator, I would say my biggest piece of advice is that “more is more.” In order to maintain a presence on social media, it takes a strong commitment, and it needs to be viewed as an integral piece of what we do everyday. It’s one of the best ways to develop professionally in a way that interest-based and self-guided.
4. Set Frequency Goals
I try to hop on Twitter daily, just to see what others are saying, and I’ve been making it a goal recently to commit to at least two Twitter Chats per month. As a result, I’m able to read other blogs and articles, and then, of course, I’m able to update my blog as well. A lack of presence on social media or an inconsistent presence on social media removes your voice from the conversation almost immediately. Social media is dynamic and ephemeral, and if an educator does not keep up with it, they can very easily dissolve into the background of the conversation.
5. Just Do It
The hardest part is getting started. In fact, it takes a great deal of bravery to put yourself out there and demand to be heard, but if you have enough passion and conviction for what you believe and do, it’s ultimately worth it in the end!