Day 15 – #AprilBlogADay – Social Media

How has social media changed your classroom?  Personally? Professionally?

Social media has changed my classroom and me–both personally and professionally. Here’s the back story.

It started with this very blog. I wrote my first post on October 17, 2009. My blogging purpose was to help my students publish their work in an eMagazine, of sorts. I had heard a bit about blogs, but that’s all. We fumbled our way through the first steps of blogging, learning together (and with the help of the @Edublogs staff) how to add images and widgets to all of our blogs.

When we got our first comment, I thought it was magical and special. Someone had read our blog post! Looking back, I see I was talking to some vague audience. (I probably thought it was parents who might be reading.)

Well, little did I know at the time, there was a huge community of teachers and students connecting and learning together. I found out about this community through the Edublogs teacher blogging challenge, a whole year after our first comment came. The first post I did for the blogging challenge received 18 comments (a couple by me in response). What a difference! I learned early in the challenge that there was a conversation going on, and I could be a part of it. That first week, I met friends like Sheri Edwards, Nancy Carroll, Marsha Ratzel, Malyn Mawby, Theresa Allen, Tracy Watanabe, and Jee Young Kim. They were also participating in the challenge, and they commented on my blog. It was magical and special, but much more so than the one comment I had received the year before.

OK, so that was how I got started. Prior to that I didn’t really use social media. About the same time as the blogging challenge, I started using my inactive Twitter account. Soon after I got Facebook and a myriad of other accounts.

So, yes, social media has changed my life. Not all for the good, but I’ll leave that for another post.

My classroom has changed–I have used social media in education with kindergarteners, junior highers and college age students. It has broadened our vision and given us experiencesexperts and great resources. The world is not limited, as it used to be, by the walls of our classroom. Now, we have pen pals we can talk to every day on the other side of the world through our blog. I share pictures of my students on Instagram for their parents and friends to enjoy a bit of kindergarten.

I have changed personally. I connect (or at least keep up a bit) with childhood, high school, and adult friends on six continents through social media. I keep connected with my children (all of us on different continents) through Instagram, Facebook, What’s App, and blogging. Not only my children, but siblings, nephews and nieces, and cousins I had all but lost track of. I’ve written more than ever, thanks to social media outlets. Some of the new friends I’ve met on social media, I went on to travel to their lovely communities and meet them in person.

Similarly, I have changed professionally. I go to conferences, meet a new friend and can stay in contact with them through Facebook. I’ve created vlog posts, which is very unlike me. However, challenged by my friends, I was willing to give it a try! (I wish I would have know these people earlier; I probably would have tried harder at singing.) I’ve led more live sessions and webinars in the past five years, than I had all the previous years of my life.

All, of this is not the product just of social media, of course. The experiences, connections, challenges, friendships, and learnings have happened because of people. These relationships with people are sparked, nurtured, and able to grow stronger because of social media. And I’m thankful for that.

How has social media changed you?


9 thoughts on “Day 15 – #AprilBlogADay – Social Media

  1. i love how you highlight the personal connections. That is the true strength of social media. Thank you for sharing. And congrats n making it halfway through #aprilblogaday!

    1. Thank you so much, Sue! It is exciting to make new friends this way. And now, my online connections are being renewed and new connections started through #AprilBlogADay. I had gotten away from my blog the last year, so this challenge is rejuvenating my blog.

      Thanks again for connecting with me this month! Congratulations to you too!


  2. Denise,
    It’s almost hard to explain to folks who don’t blog or use Social Media the true and special connections that can be made with these powerful tools. The Edublog Challenge (which I almost didn’t participate in) made a HUGE difference in my world as well. I remember making almost an instant connection with you. We learned early on the value of commenting and continuing the conversation.
    I’ve said it often when commenting on your blogs and I’ll say it again – You inspire me – your words, your wisdom, your thoughtfulness. I am thankful for Social Media as it has helped me connect and make friends with wonderful people like you!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Nancy,
      Thanks for the warm and kind wishes. I’ve been blessed by you over the years. I always know I can count on you to respond to requests or tweets, and I appreciate your comment here, Nancy. I’m still looking forward to the time when I can get to Boston, not only to see the beautiful history of that iconic city, but also to meet you in person!

      Both of our blogs have been more quiet in the past year or so, haven’t they? I hope that #AprilBlogADay is kickstarting mine again. Do you want to join us for the second half?


  3. Dear Denise,

    My story is similar to yours since we started blogging at the same time, with similar communities. I learned that there were people who were willing to help me learn, and wanted to learn with me. That safety allowed transparency, which was freeing and joyful. I finally felt connected instead of isolated. What started off as a feeling of encouragement grew into heartfelt friendships. For example, one year you mailed a bunch of us an oven mitt that you made for each of us. I cherished it so much that when I moved from AZ to CA, it was one of the items that I made sure I packed, even though the house we moved to was much smaller with less storage space. It meant enough to me to make sure I packed it.

    The bottom line is, I know I wouldn’t have learned as much as I have without my PLN; I wouldn’t be as confident; and I wouldn’t be as transparent. I’m grateful for all of you!

    Kind regards,

    1. Tracy,
      How nice of you to remind me and tell me about the oven mitt making the trip to California. That was sweet of you. I like the words you use to describe what you’ve learned from your PLN–confidence and transparency. I can relate to that. I never thought I would be transparent, but we found a tribe/community to relate to and it made us want to open up. I certainly gained confidence. I can’t believe all the things I’ve done over the past five years that I hadn’t tried before.

      Thank you again. Are you still connecting with other blogs with Ben’s #C4C15? If so, do you use the hashtag at all when you comment on others’ blogs?

      Best wishes in your new position, Tracy!


      1. Hi Denise,

        I am committed to writing quality comments on blogs or via Twitter; however, I don’t always use the hashtag. What I am interested in is a little different than the group, so I didn’t want to dominate the hashtag with a different direction. Yet, sometimes I tell myself, it doesn’t matter the direction, what matters is the connection. So, I go back and forth with that one.

        Kind regards,

  4. Such wonderful supportive people mentioned and commenting on this blog post! I so agree with all of you. I find solace and support, inspiration and invitation, and connection and creativity with the people in my PLN.

    I look for ways to reciprocate, and appreciate the confidence gained and connections continued in the online neighborhood in which I visit often.

    When the walls close in from the mandates and requirements that stifle creativity and real learning, then it is my PLN that grounds me so my teaching can re-engage my students with a fresh and challenging perspective.

    It’s like a group of friends that gather as they can, sharing as if no time has passed, and remembering each other. I am so thankful for these friends, and that first Edublogs Challenge that brought the first few of us together, encouraging us to become the connected educators we are. And in our tweets and blogs, we encourage others to join.

    Thanks for the reunion! You are all awesome!

    1. Sheri,
      Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your lovely comment. You are a poet, even when you comment on a blog post. You are such a fine writer. Thank you for sharing your lovely phrases and deep thoughts.

      I enjoyed re-reading one of your posts on PLNs the other day, and wrote about it a bit here for another of my daily posts:

      I remember when you were talking about Communities of Practice, PLNs and PLCs. Do you remember where that post was? Maybe it was a vlog, now that I think about it.

      Take care, friend! You continue to inspire me, lately from afar.


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