EdTech 541- Social Networks: Inital Reaction

When I saw our first assignment was to sign up for Facebook and Twitter, I wasn’t very surprised as they are probably the two most popular social media platforms. I have been using Twitter personally for over years and love it. It is definitely something I check daily (and by daily, I mean all day). However, I had never ever posted a single thing on Facebook. Facebook is something I have always avoided, not because I dislike social media (obviously, I have a Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram) but because it seemed like too much. There were too many people trying to invade too much of people’s lives. I do know there are educational benefits to using it and there are literally billions of people on it, so I bit the bullet and posted on Facebook today.

When I first began using Twitter, it was completely personal. I then thought, why no try to use this for school? I set-up a Twitter page for class homework. To my surprise, very few of the kids really knew what Twitter was and they weren’t using it. Flash-forward to this fall and it has completely changed. Most of the kids have an account and are active on it. That is when I decided to create a Twitter account for general school info. So over this year, I have run the Twitter account and Instagram for the high school I work at. It was very effective at disseminating information: snow days, late starts, athletic events, fund-raisers, etc. This year we reviewed the dress code and code of conduct, I was able to use the Twitter account as a way of creating a conversation and getting student input, but also explaining to the kids why some policies are in place. It has been a success overall, despite not receiving any support from any other staff member in the entire district. I can’t advertise it in school, nobody will give me information to put on. None of the other teachers have contributed. It has the potential to really expand on the sense of community that is important for schools to build, but right now, there are too many roadblocks for it be much more than just basic information and the occasional conversation.

Twitter is the only social media that I use for what I consider professional development. However, it has really increased my level of knowledge and awareness in areas such as science and current events. In every discipline, math to English, I follow people/organizations on Twitter that post interesting articles, podcasts, pictures, and thoughts that are engaging and enlightening. The power to slide my thumb an inch across the my phone screen and find an endless source of entertainment and information to be staggering in both its simplicity and its complexity.

I hope to learn more ways I can utilize social media so that I can hopefully change the minds of people I work with. The administration needs to be won over on the potential. Other teachers and coaches have to buy in as well or it to really reach it’s potential. I would like to learn more about other forms of social media that I may not know exist. Also, it is important to learn rules to teach the kids for how to safely and productively use social media. Many of the kids have no training on social media and end wasting it’s potential on bullying others, sub tweet arguments or selfies. Finally, I guess I would reluctantly like to learn how to use Facebook.

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