Are you a teacher looking for the info on social media for teachers?
Happy to share how social media tools can add value to your work as a professional and your role as a teacher.
First let us see what are your likely goals.
Self growth and visibility (Increase in your professional reputation).
Professional growth by learning and setting the system for this.
Find success at work. This can be achieved by sharing what you know, using your time more effectively, being more efficient at the time of student teacher connection. With students you need to teach, conduct tests, assignments, and grade.
1. Self growth and visibility.
Online tools that you have available.
First up create a LinkedIn profile if you do not have done. If you already have one then prep it up for the world to see. It is not too difficult, as LinkedIn is a self service tool.
Complete your profile 100%
Get a Vanity URL
Connect all relevant social accounts (blog, twitter) to your LinkedIn account. If you do not have these accounts – no worries. We will learn how to – as we move ahead.
Ask for recommendations
Then understand the power of blogging and use it for your benefit.
If you already have a blog that is cool. If you do not have one – and are stuck at “how to make one” stage, do not think much. Here is to get started,
Go to WordPress.com and create a free blog.
Write a post (small article) about how do you plan to use it
Also write a bit about yourself on your about page. Here also add links to your social profiles – at least LinkedIn and twitter.
Now forget about it for a while – you can come back to it later.
2. Professional Growth by Learning and setting Systems.
Identify sources of learning and then Automate learning.
You can do it by using feeds.
It is an underutilized system outside geek world, but very efficient.
What is a feed?
A feed is a system – when you subscribe for feed available on any websites (all important websites offer this) – you get all updates in your feed reader. A feedreader is an interface for reading feeds, it is very similar to reading emails, but in your feed reader inbox you only receive updates whenever a website that you have subscribed to posts new information. Feedly.com is a good reader to set up your account and to starting getting updates.
How it helps? It saves you tons of diversion – because when you have a feed set up you do not need to go 20 sites every day. It will be good if you only subscribe to select feeds, 20 is a good cap. Otherwise it can be too overwhelming.
Good Knowledge Destinations that you can explore.
- QZ.com (it is well tuned for mobile consumption)
- SmartBrief – it is available for different industries and focus areas
- http://hr.alltop.com/ (Alltop.com is a start up for different topics – so try out for other topics as well)
Local Knowledge and daily news resources.
Note: Subscribe to the feeds based on your focus area and interests.
Also use Twitter and feeds to follow thinkers in your space
When you become an active user of online media. It is obvious that you will find many resources and articles that you want to come back to later. I am sure you already bookmark these in your browser. A better way is to save such pages in an online bookmarking account on one either delicious.com or diigo.com. If you want to try a cleaner option (paid) go for pinboard.in. (This later helps when you want to share your collection with your students or peers).
Paid is not always better.
There are tons of very good tools available that are free.
Almost entire Google Apps suite is solid for professional usage.
When your organization uses this – utilize it.
Use Google Docs to share documents and collaborate. Encourage your students to do the same.
And Google Drive to store your documents.
If you need to share a lot of documents or give your students access to upload their files for an assignment then go for DropBox.
If you are coordinating a student event and there are lot of pictures to be uploaded use 2 options for it – institution’s facebook and Flickr account (it now has 1 Terabyte free space). Using your own facebook account does not make a lot of sense (I will tell you a little later) but it is your personal choice.
If you need to send a really large file and popular services like Yousendit are not working for you. Go for Mega.co.nz – it has the most advanced solution to upload and download large files quickly at a normal internet connection.
3. Finding success at work.
Do 1 and 2 and you will have a good foundation ready.
Now comes sharing what you know.
Start with the institutional blog.
You have set up your own basic blog and there is a specific use for it when you go for. But if you want your work to be seen blog on your institution’s blog. Chances are that it is already seen by hundreds and in some cases thousands of visitors already.
Share your best knowledge there and do it consistently. Soon you will dominate the search results for your name and also be seen as a thought leader by the community that is built around your institution’s blog.
When later you pitch to speak at an industry conference – you can always provide the link to your writing. Conference hosts value these – as they help you stand apart from those who do not have something relevant to show online. This also works other way round. If a conference host – during an online search for speakers – finds your article – chances are they will contact you.
If your students ask you the same questions again and again – you can write it as a blog post and then when next time you are asked the same question – you can always point them to same blog posts. Saves your time and students get a well documented answer.
What to do you with your own WordPress blog that you made earlier?
Use it to post updates to your class schedule and assignments – so that those who missed the class, can know it. If that is already handled by a proprietary system at your institution. Then the post discussion topics. You may post a discussion topic and ask students to post one thoughtful comment. You can rate/grade them based on their comments.
You can also post quick answers to questions that students asked in the class – and answer which are not detailed enough or very subject specific specific – so they do not belong on the institutional blog. You can post such stuff here.
You can also create an open Q and A post on your blog – where students can post their queries – that you can approve – and post answers at your own pace. This is better than doing on email – because this way this is there for every students in the class to see.
Ways to share your docs related to class.
SlideShare / Prezi – for presentation slides if you used them.
YouTube – you can create a private link – if you teaching methodology includes taking videos.
Avoid using Facebook. Here is why? Facebook is not a great way to share while you are in class. Because people need to friend you to see what you share. More it is not an apt channel for professional sharing. The above channels are such that students do not need to be your friends to see what you posted. Subscription (on facebook) is one way of avoiding that but still a person’s feed has some personal stuff in it. If you want to – not take the pain of creating custom settings you can use – a separate account for school related work (Facebook’s policies prohibit it though).
To friend students on Facebook or not. Ideally not, if at all – it makes sense to create a separate facebook account for your professional activities. If students send you friend requests you can ask them to send it to your “other” account. If you are using this medium you can use facebook groups to run project specific discussions.
Use wikis – if you are comfortable using it and want to bring more people in to add to what you create (meant for crowd-sourced effort).
More apps/tools that you can experiment with for teaching.
Try Google Hangouts.
Also check out these robust tools to experiments and incorporate in your teaching.
Blackboard Learn – Integrated offering for hosting content, grading, analytics that show you who needs to more attention (useful for retaining the attention of students in your class)
Important: Not only consume. Also CREATE.