Social media is probably one of my favorite inventions ever created. This evolving tool allows you to interact with people from just about anywhere in the world. It can be family, friends, colleagues, strangers, people from the past, etc. It’s a virtual community where you connect. It can be based on a preferred interest, passion, hobby, career, or just about anything your heart desires. At first, you could only access social media on your computers or laptops. Now, you can use it anywhere… iPods, iPhones, iPads, tablets/cellphones, etc.
My first dose of social media was the birth of Facebook when it was JUST for college kids. No one else! Facebook came out during my sophomore year of college. I remember EVERYONE signing up for it. It was what the cool kids did. However, I held out thinking it was just a fade and it’d pass. I didn’t want to be like all of them…but then I got suckered in somehow. I’ve witnessed Facebook grow, evolve, and change over the many years and I’m still an avid Facebook user 10 years later. Possibly a Facebookaholic if that term exists. Ever since, I have been part of most social media: Friendster, MySpace, Xanga, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I follow blogs primarily fashion, makeup, and personal blogs about families/everyday life.
I was very eager to take this class when I saw it was about social media. Of course, my initial thought was “Facebook! Twitter!” but I slowly learned how basic and limited my social media knowledge was. First of, this class has/is teaching me about the value of social media in the educational viewpoint. I didn’t know how social media could be integrated but it is possible! Here are some social media tools that I’ve learned about and enjoyed:
- VoiceThread: I’ve never heard of VoiceThread until this class. After using it, I have to say I love it. We all know how it works so I won’t go into details. It is very interactive and allows users to comment or give feedback by text, audio, and webcam on a topic. This can be used for projects, papers, presentations, etc. It is a great collaboration tool that students, teachers, and colleagues can use. Personally, the only drawback I don’t like is to hear the sound of my voice :).
- Diigo is a great tool to bookmark important or interesting websites. You can access and categorize these websites later under your personal library from Diigo. It also lets you highlight or leave sticky notes as reminders. Diigo’s use of bookmarking reminds me Pinterest’s Pin It button. It’s similar in concept except you’d view your pins on Pinterest.
- Mindmeister is an interactive concept map. This would be a great tool to use in the classroom especially for word webs or brainstorming for writing ideas, projects, etc. If you aren’t familiar with concept maps, there is a bit of a learning curve.
- Edmodo is a social networking site similar to Facebook. However, the target audience are teachers, parents, and students. This allows interaction primarily for educational use. It lessens the fear factor of a teacher using actual Facebook to interact with students. It’d be easily adaptable since Facebook is very common these days. (My student teaching taught me that even my third graders are on Facebook!) The school I substitute teach in does not have a social network so this would be great program for them! I believe their social network consists only of an email program similar to Gmail.
As for my PLN, I am still in the beginning stages of networking. I have expanded my blog following into the educational area. Check out A Day in the Life where a public school teacher shares her thoughts and insights on teaching. I’ve begun to follow educational professionals on Twitter. Visit this website as it lists 50 Education Leaders to follow on Twitter. The list is from 2012 but there are some outstanding people. I am still in the process of updating my resume so I can join LinkedIn and network with teachers, administrators, etc.
Regarding the ISTE Net Standards, I am currently a substitute teacher. Although I do not have my own classroom, I have viewed the NETS-T standards. As an aspiring teacher, I believe I meet all the standards and performance indicators based on my personal experience and what I have learned through the many technology courses I have taken from Drexel. From the NETS-S viewpoint, I believe I have developed an understanding of all the standards presented through my experiences and class projects.
Technology will always be around. As an educator, I can’t wait to incorporate many of the social media tools I have learned throughout this class once I have my own classroom! For now, I can continue to learn and build my knowledge and experience of the many tools on my own time. The only way to learn is to practice on your own. I also plan on keeping up-to-date with the latest technology even if it means asking my teenage nieces for help! This way I can make my future student’s learning experience more interactive and fun. I believe by being knowledgeable and open to different teaching methods it will significantly impact a child’s learning. Students are lucky for the technological opportunities they have today. This is something that I did not experience as a youngster. Take full advantage of what you have!