Social Media for Professional Growth

Anyone who knows me knows that I find a lot of value in Twitter. It has been my go-to source for connecting me with inspiring educators around the globe. I have learned from and with technologists in Australia, education department officials in Israel, design thinking teachers in Scotland, teachers and administrators across the North America, mentored student PBL groups in Oklahoma, and even discussed the State of the Union live with students from Philadelphia. Twitter is simply a powerful tool for learning.

WOISD staff have used Twitter to connect their students with authors, politicians, experts in other fields, and even a Holocaust survivor. Their lives have been changed and their learning improved because of a social media tool.

This video gives a quick testimonial on how one school district uses Twitter to make a difference in their classrooms. If you want to get started on Twitter, shoot me a note. If you start this school year modeling for our students how to utilize social media as a learner, you are helping them develop a valuable, lifelong skill.

Follow Educators on Twitter by Subject Area

Photo Credit: id-iom

At the beginning of the school year, I did several sessions in-district on using Twitter as a 24/7, self-directed professional development tool. What I failed to do was publish the link to a great resource that lists Twitter users by the subject area they teach. Thanks to a blog post from Alice Keeler, there’s now a pretty comprehensive list of educators you can follow. Try some out and see what gems you find. Be sure to add yourself to the list, too.

Making Twitter Matter

There is a great post I read recently titled “3 Reasons Why the School Principal Needs to Tweet.” Honestly, it could say “teacher” in the place of “principal” because the list just makes good sense. Below is the short synopsis of the post, but be sure to click on the link above to read the entire thing. Keep in mind that you can embed your Twitter feed into the sidebar of your blog for parents and students to follow.

1. Students Need Social-Media Role Models.

…. students need a role model that shows them how social media is an incredibly powerful tool. It’s a media channel — for free. It’s the ability to get your message out there. It’s the ability to be the change you want to see in the world, regardless of how much bank you have (yes, I said that).

2. What About the Budget? No Cost Necessary

Forget the budget. Launching a Twitter and Pinterest handle, along with a Facebook page, costs zilch — nada — nothing.

3. What can you do with a Tweet, Pin, and Like?

Here’s the formula:

Step 1: Assign a school leader to write a blog post each week that tells the story of something amazing happening in the school (a.k.a. the good news). This could be a student who ran 95 yards for the touchdown or the school club that put together its first community walk to raise awareness for Lyme disease.

Step 2: Create a Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook page. Include a link to the school’s main blog to direct readers to it. Below are the benefits of each social media platform.

Twitter: Craft 3-5 daily tweets that stay on the positive. You can get really serious and include interesting facts to feed the students’ minds (i.e. Einstein quotes or “on this day…”) Or, you can crack a joke here and there and be human. Or, you can ask students and parents to wear a white ribbon to honor “insert event here”.

Facebook: Use this like a blog if you don’t run a blog on the school’s server (though you should), but disable comments. You don’t need any trolls pretending you’re not awesome. Post pictures of the school leaders and teachers smiling. Students smiling.

Step 3: Keep it up. It takes time to develop the benefits from having an online presence. However, through time, the community and your students will start seeing how to use social media wisely and will have more reason to believe in the school system.

As always, let me know if you’d like my help getting things setup. I’d be more than happy to work with you on it.