Social media – benefit or hassle? #Aprilblogaday


#wordswag #digitalleadership

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Yesterday’s prompt was: What role has social media played in your teaching practice, teaching community? Good and Bad.

I started using social media in 2007, to keep an eye on my older children. As I became more involved in its use, I began to discover the power of mass communication provided. At the time, I taught at a residential treatment facility for juvenile offenders, so I was unable to employ social media for connecting with parents and students. However, I began to follow influential educators, read blogs, and listen to podcasts. I was hooked.

It took me some time to begin to ask questions and seek help via social media. In 2010, I began to understand the power of social media in a job search. I was able to check out schools and leaders. I recognized some schools and educators did not use social media. I used their Web sites to determine social media policies, so I could answer questions about my use.

When I became the administrator of a small, Christian school, I learned about the importance of social media in marketing. I read more information from Michael Hyatt and Dr. Rick Newberry. Both provide valuable content about using social media for marketing. Additionally, I used social media to seek out information about social media use policies and user agreements for students/parents.

As I discovered more education-related podcasts, I heard more information about Twitter chats and the unconference movement. I started following, then participating in different chats. I attended several EdCamps and other similarly focused events. At each event, I learned more about how other educators are using social media to connect and collaborate. I began to experiment more with the use of social media for communication. I started using the school’s social media accounts to share school happenings, announce snow days, and communicate with parents.

When the school closed and I changed positions, I focused more on connecting with other educators and helping fellow educators to utilize social media to communicate and share. Last summer, I presented, at the #TeamJXN EdTech Kickoff, about using social media management tools to post to several networks at the same time, to schedule posts, and to follow hashtags. I shared the value of Hootsuite and Buffer. We explored how teachers and administrators can use these tools to limit their time spent posting to several different social networks.

Additionally, I attended the presentation of Sarah Soper (@soperclassroom) about how she uses social media to connect with her students. She discussed the use of chats and backchannels for class discussion. I found the presentation valuable as I stepped back into the classroom last fall.

My current school only utilizes social media for communicating with parents and sharing school happenings. No class or teacher accounts are used. I have not asked about their use, but I will for next school year. I believe the benefits far outweigh the potential negatives. Moreover, as teachers explain, discuss, and model proper use of social media students will observe and learn.

Please let me know your thoughts about my blog. Your feedback is important in helping me to reflect, learn, and grow. Thank you for reading.


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