Friday, 25 July 2014

Social Media, Education and Me

I'm a digital immigrant.
When I began my career as a teacher, in 1996, computers were just awkward typewriters with a couple of games that took up space in the corner of the room.  I'm sorry to report that in some classrooms, this is still the case. Only the games have improved.
But this blog isn't about the use of digital technology in the classroom, it's about the way that teachers adopt that same technology to become better teachers.
And we are spoit for choice! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, PInterest, Google+, where do we start?

 Well chances are you've come to this blog via social media so you're on that journey.

This is a topic that I have more questions than answers for. After a couple of years teaching in the IT lab at my school I kind of got stuck with that IT guru tag and everyone assumes that I'm an expert in just about anything that plugs in and lights up at our school. The truth is I'm nowhere near that. More often than not it's a winning combination of Google and dumb luck that gets stuff solved around the place. That and a fairly costly service contract.
But I digress.

I'm genuinely interested in how you use social media to gain and share ideas in teaching and how you separate that from your personal social media presence.

For me, Facebook is my personal presence while, Twitter is my more professional voice. Sometimes those lines get blurred, ( though not in a creepy Robin Thicke kind of way.)  If you know me you'll probably know that I was utilising both for a few days last week for a personal crusade of sorts. I'm also quite aware that there's no such thing as a private Facebook post as well,  so that informs what I choose to share. 

For a long time I couldn't get my head around Twitter but in the last few weeks it has started to make more sense to me as a place to share and collaborate. The first thing I had to do was unfollow a bunch of sports teams and celebrities, (who shall remain nameless) as all they were doing was clogging up my feed with posts that meant little or nothing to me. I kept a few, like Stephen Fry who actually tweet things of value. For all the rest it was goodbye to the name dropping, fancy restaurant names, self promotion and in jokes.
Once the air was clear of all that twitter wittering I started seeking out (mainly music) educators who actually have something to say. I also started this blog as a way of getting beyond the 140 character limit. It's early days but it's starting to work and I'm picking up inspiration and ideas from all around the world. Where possible I'm sharing too.

So how do you connect with professionals and what benefits have you seen from doing so? Do you have any success stories you can share?
Do you see a place for SM in the classroom, as a learning tool for your students? if so, what are the barriers to this? 
Do you have any tips?
Should there be a 10 commandments of Teachers on Social Networking Sites?
I'll get the ball rolling:

1) Thou shalt not friend ex pupils until they are adults and only if you are genuinely interested in what they are doing with their lives and you don't mind them seeing what you have done with yours.

Please add any more to the comments section or tweet @20thCenturyBoi



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