By Teachers, For Teachers
Online social networking has become so much more than just browsing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s become a popular professional development tool that many classroom teachers use to help them stay connected with their colleagues, as well as other professional educators. In fact, social networking has begun to transform how teachers communicate with one another. Not only are teachers now able to connect with people all over the world, but they can also easily maintain their professional relationships by simply commenting on someone’s photo or status, or by privately messaging them. One of the greatest benefits of having a social media account is the ability for teachers to showcase themselves. Today, a prospective teacher can use a social networking platform as an informal resume where potential employers can learn more about them by simply scouring their profile and newsfeed, and learning more about their qualifications and experiences. There are a number of ways that teachers can use social networking to their professional development advantage. Here are a few suggestions.
Utilizing social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn (the best professional development platform) can help teachers connect with other educators and gain more information. When teachers use social networking, they are able to form connections with other educators and professionals that can help their students get accurate information to increase their knowledge. For example, if students were learning about space, they can use their social networking connections to Skype with an expert from NASA to help their students gain more information about space. Another great example of using social networking to gain information is if students were learning about another country. The teacher can use their connections to plan a virtual field trip with another classroom to help them learn more information about the students’ unique lifestyle and culture from a firsthand resource.
Another way that teachers can use social networking to their advantage is to share their ideas with other educational professionals. These days, almost all social media platforms make professional development easy for teachers to share your teaching techniques and learn from others. Today’s teachers can compare notes on their techniques and learning styles, which is a great way to enhance their knowledge and learning experience in the classroom. Teachers can search these networking platforms by simply using the hashtags #teachersofinstagram, #edchat, #educator, or #teacherresources.
One of the best things about using social networking as a means of professional development is that it helps to keep teachers “In the know” about what is currently going on in education. In the past, teachers used to have to wait for a sign-up sheet to come out for any professional development training or courses that would help further their knowledge. However, today’s teachers are able to stay in the loop much easier by simply going on their social networking platform to gain professional development information. They can sign up for online courses, join a group chat, or scroll through their newsfeed to learn valuable information or sign up for a conference or teaching seminar.
One of the great benefits of social networking is its ability to help teachers establish key professional relationships that can help to advance their teaching career. LinkedIn is a great social networking site for professionals because it allows individuals to connect with not only the professionals that they already know, but also their contacts, as well as others in the field which whom they have never met. By building these connections, teachers are now able to establish more professional relationships than they have ever imagined.
Another way teachers can use social networking to their advantage is that it can open them up to diverse views. The more people that a teacher connects with on a social networking platform, the more insight they will get into different perspectives on educational topics. What a teacher once thought may change after connecting to a professional in the field who has a different perspective.
Professional development for teachers has come a long way. Through the use of technology, today’s teachers are able to connect with other professionals in their field which whom they probably wouldn’t have ever had the pleasure of meeting, since many of them are from across the globe. This powerful tool has become a great way to not only further ones’ career in the education world, but to gain valuable insight and knowledge.
We want to hear your opinion on teacher professional development through social networking. Do you think there are benefits to this type of communication? Please feel free to share your thoughts on this topic, we’d would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.