Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Build Your Professional Learning Network with Social Media

Oooooohhhhh! Social media in education.  The idea makes so many educators cringe.  When we think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace (lol), etc., most educators think of ways students waste time.  Heck, many educators spend hours on end entertaining themselves with these social media sites.  But what if we put these sites to work for us?  What if they became a tool to learn from and connect to experts?  What if they became a tool to connect with students in an engaging manner?

Not that we are in this business for kids to think we are cool, but if you were to incorporate social media into your class, kids would think you're pretty cool.  Their engagement would increase.  There are countless lesson ideas and strategies out there on social media.  If you're not on social media, then you're missing out.  The key is to find these experts, and trust me, they are all on social media.  Once you find them, follow them and when you do, you will start seeing other experts to which they are connected.  Follow those guys too.  If sounds a bit "stalkerish" and creepy, but this is how you begin building that network.

The best way to find active experts on social media is to search a hashtag.  A good place to start is by searching the following:


Experts are posting their ideas connected to these searchable hashtags all the time.  You'll be surprised that if you follow them, they often follow you right back.

A way to organize these experts and fellow teachers on Twitter is by creating list.  When you follow someone, you can add them to a list.  This makes it easy for you to reduce clutter of your Twitter feed and allows you to view only certain people.  Take a look at the example below.


What you see above is my Tech-Education list.  In this list, I only view the people I follow who I have categorized as education technology specialists.  This helps me stay up to date on the latest trends in education technology.  I can still view each of these people in my Twitter feed, but this filters it for me.

Here is how you add someone to a list.


This is what you see when you click on someone's profile.  Simply click on their name and this pops up.  Next to the Following button, click the Settings gearbox icon and a drop down menu appears.  Select Add or Remove from Lists.


From there, you can create a new list (the person will be automatically added to it) or check the list you want them to be included.

To view a list, go to your Twitter profile, click Lists, and select the List you want to view.

I hope this was helpful.  Let me know if you need help or have ideas from streamlining this process.

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