EdTech 543 Week 1 Post

What are you initial reactions about joining these social networks for use in this course?

I am a social media junkie and have worked with Twitter, Diigo, and Facebook for some time now. The first thing I do in the morning (before I head off to work) is read my Twitter, Facebook (personal) and Diigo feeds. Joining these social networks seems easy or second nature now. However, moderating them and/or using them to their full potential is another story. I really hope that this course we allow me to maximize the potential these tools possess. Now that I am working on my MET degree, colleagues would like to develop social media based projects or assignments with me. I love collaborating (and even experimenting) but sometimes I feel that we are barely scratching the surface. Also, I am not sure if we are using these tools effectively.That’s why I titled this post “in medias res”. I feel like I have started in the middle somewhere but I haven’t really gotten beyond the middle!

What is your experience in using social media for your own professional development?

Both Twitter and Diigo have helped me develop professionally, both as a teacher and a librarian / media specialist. I love it when people share great resources or ideas via feeds. Because of these posts I have been able to change what I do in the classroom or in the library. They inspire me and encourage me to try new things! I often share what I like with my followers. I do feel guilty at times though because I am not contributing my own finds or resources as much as I should be. I think I am the point where I should be giving back to the communities I subscribe to instead of simply “lurking” and re-posting others’ “entries”. With that said, here are some of my favourite Tweeters: @gcouros, @courosa, @langwitches, @larryferlazzo, @BookRiot; I also follow several YA writers, librarians, and public libraries.

What is your experience in using social media as an instructional strategy in your learning environment?

I started with experimenting with blogs (kidsblog, blogger and wikispaces) years ago. They seemed like a natural place to start as a English-Language Arts teacher. I also used YouTube early on (back then I had to download instructional videos before I could use them because the site was blocked). Next, I incorporated surveys (surveymonkey) and polls (Smart Response) or wall posts (wall.fm). Apps for smartphones and / or PCs and Macs have also opened up more instructional opportunities. However, I have not used Facebook or Diigo with students. I would really like to incorporate those tools into our information literacy program. Coincidentally, another teacher and I are test driving my Twitter role-play project this semester. Even though I have used some social media tools in my classroom, I feel like I have only travelled as far as Saskatchewan, but not beyond that point. (I realized this when I read / viewed our Module 1 resources for this course!) Furthermore, I would like to experiment with tools that I have shied away from. eg. Facebook. Facebook has been banned in our school district for years, until last year. However, I still remember when we created mock Facebook profiles for literary characters on paper …  Sometimes I still hang onto the idea that Facebook isn’t appropriate for school use even though I know that it can be used effectively! I like the idea of an education account or page.

What are your expectations for this course?

I want to:

  • get beyond the “middle” (in medias res)
  • add new tools to my “toolbox”
  • effectively utilize social media tools in my classroom / instructional programs
  • continue to grow professionally (via networking and experience)