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 experiences, experts 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?