I have to say that I am honestly very positive and relaxed about joining the four social networks. I have been using Twitter for about a year and have had a personal Facebook page since 2007. I have experimented with blogging a couple of times using Blogger but never WordPress. Diigo was new to me and after figuring out the basics, I like it. I have already shared it with my Leadership team and will set up a group for our elementary team and lead some training on it later in the year. We use a lot of internet resources and it is a simple way to share, annotate and get staff involved across our school.
My only reservations and biases were with Facebook, which I think is in decline in a number of ways. Their heavy advertising, profiling and the constant battle with privacy issues makes me more wary of how relevant it will be in a few years. Young people are already drifting away. That said, I do check it daily and post family pics on my personal page to share so I am a little inconsistent. I’m looking forward to having my biases challenged.
My experiences with social media for my own professional development have changed markedly in the last 12 months. I thought Twitter was for following celebrities – so I stayed away. As an elementary teacher, Facebook is not really an option as all pupils are under 13 and our school has a system for parental communication in place. To be honest until 12 months ago Social Media to me was Facebook. I was lucky enough to attend a local training session and one of the speakers was Will Richardson, who was inspirational. The other educators there were more switched on than I was and I got fired up. I signed up for Twitter that afternoon and have embraced it. I have learned so much from so many people sharing their ideas and links. I organized and led a session with my staff on the use of twitter and it was successful. Staff embraced it and I saw ideas in their classes that came directly from connections they had made on Twitter. However, I have realized how many other things are out there that I am clueless about and am excited to expand my understanding. I don’t believe the world will, ‘unconnect’ and so social media in all it’s ever changing and emerging forms is going to be pivotal in my professional life.
I have not used social media as an instructional strategy with pupils in my environment. As I mentioned above, I have embraced Twitter and encouraged other staff to do the same but that is really the limit of my experience. I am looking forward to that changing.
My expectations for the course are really simple, I want to learn, to develop new knowledge, skills and understanding. I hope to be able to share, connect, share some more and hopefully laugh along the way.