Monday morning, I am getting ready for a workshop in one of our conference rooms. Setting up tables, laying out electrical reels, putting necessities on the tables: all of activities normally reserved for another day with educators. Sue walk in and asks, “How are you feeling?” A little confused, I responded, “Fine. Why?” “I was just wondering how your back was after you and the boys moved all of that sand,” she responded. “How did you know we did that?” I asked. “It was on your Facebook!” she exclaimed.
More and more people are using social networking sites to communicate and share. Not only for personal use but professional use as well. I use some for personal, some for professional use – and always try to keep the two separate, of course. (That’s probably a topic for blogging in itself!) Social Networking has received a bad rapport in schools, I believe, because it has been untamed, unchartered territory. Our students were the ones paving the way and, well, they haven’t had much direction on HOW or WHAT it should be used for.
Let’s get in and explore a couple of different social networking sites and see how it might benefit your or your students.
Facebook – I use this for keeping up with family and friends. Sharing what we are doing, pictures, and fun applications that they have to enhance the online social networking environment.
LinkedIn – This is the “professional” version of Facebook. Professionals all over the world share their experiences, resumes, and create groups to schedule events and collaborate.
Ning – A social networking site that allows you to create your own group to share blogs, upload files and media, participate in discussions, meet new people and much more. This is been a popular site for educators to create interest groups.
ESU 10 Communities – Communities of educators in ESU 10 that allow the sharing of their interests, files, websites, etc. in a blog format.
ALI or Apple Learning Interchange – Educator driven lessons and ideas to support learning using technology. Lots of groups, collaboration and general information.
These are just a few of the social networks out there. I challenge you to try one of them and see how it might work in your classroom!