Technology has afforded us with various ways to make our lives easier. Coupled with the Internet boom, it surely has made everything more accessible to everyone. Not being connected to the world wide web may sometimes feel like you’re being isolated from everyone else. There is no greater way of proving the truth than the saying “No man is an island.” With people all over the world communicating and interacting with one another with just a few keystrokes and a click here and there, it is simply impossible to not be connected with one another.
Social media sites are all the rage right now. Big players such as Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and the like have become household names, and there are still other social media platforms popping up now and then. These opportunities to connect and share with other people have opened a new world, not only for the casual Internet user but for professionals as well.
There are now social media sites dedicated solely to professionals. It allows them to find other people in their fields, discover both employment and hiring possibilities, and, of course, a chance to widen their networks and converse with people who have the same professional backgrounds.
Educators are also finding great avenues to discover with social media sites. Here are just some of those social media sites you can explore as an educator to expand your horizons and probably learn new things about your craft.
If you don’t know what Facebook is, then maybe it’s time you come out from under that rock. Facebook is one of if not the most popular social media site right now. People have found various ways to utilize it. It’s no longer just about posting your everyday adventures or sharing pictures. It can be used for business—advertisements, selling products, and much more.
For teachers and educators, it can also become an avenue for creating groups with people who have similar interests—sharing and updating one another. As a teacher myself, it goes beyond that. It’s also a great way to connect with your students on a level they are comfortable with. It can also be useful for disseminating information regarding class and posting lectures, quizzes, and trivia. There are, of course, several setbacks to this, such as being too available for your students. However, that’s a matter separate from the advantages of using Facebook as an educator.
Go to: http://facebook.com/groups
Requirement: Facebook Account
Why is it good? It has an interactive platform to interact and communicate with your class. Most of your students will have Facebook accounts, and it will be more accessible to them compared to other social media sites.
Edmodo is one of the best social media sites out there—you can even go as far as to say that it has been created specifically for educators. Here, you can connect with students and parents in a safe and secure environment. Especially for K-12 educators, it can be a great way to connect with other educators in school systems all over the world. You can share resources and collaborate with other teachers to focus on what really matters: your students. Lastly, it allows unlimited accessibility to take your class out of the classroom and expand your horizons. Connectivity across all devices also makes things easier for you.
Go to: www.edmodo.com
Requirement: Edmodo Account
Why is it good? It has a more secure network and an education-focused social platform to connect and interact with other colleagues, students, and parents.
What’s great about LinkedIn is that you can connect with other professionals in your field. Long gone are the days where if you want to communicate with an expert in your field, you’d have to set appointments or travel halfway around the world just to talk to them.
With LinkedIn, it’s easier to reach out to these individuals in a more casual setting. If you find a published scientific article and want to learn more, go find the author on LinkedIn. It surely allows great minds to discover and learn more from other great minds.
Go to: http://linkedin.com
Requirement: LinkedIn account
Why is it good? It’s suitable for personal use. It’s a place to network with other professionals, follow influencers, and discover insightful news and articles.
Nowadays, writing a research paper need not be limited to a library, a classroom, or an office. Connectivity via the Internet has allowed people to collaborate with professionals halfway across the world, making it easier to consolidate facts and findings. With Google+ Groups, you don’t need to meet up with people you’re working with just to talk the finer details of your research or teaching strategies. Chat with them, edit documents, post relevant articles, and more in the comfort of your own home.
Go to: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!overview
Requirement: Google Account
Why is it good? A lot of educators, especially those from the United States and Canada, are on Google+. There are a lot of open groups that you can join and interact with.
With all these gadgets and platforms available to us educators, it is simply inexcusable to not find improvements where we can. Connect with other people, whether they are students, parents, administrators, or other educators. We can use these social media sites to focus on what matters the most: our students and what we can do to improve learning outcomes.
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