Couldn't agree with this more. When I started using Twitter and Google+ to build my PLN I was forever changed. I became a strong supporter of the belief that education shouldn't be contained to the four walls of your classroom. I once heard that the smartest person in the room is the room. Don't limit the size of your room to your own school. Walls no longer exist.
2) Establish Real Relationships
My connections on Twitter were initially superficial and lacked authenticity. They were avatars and short messages. However, I quickly developed some very real relationships with other educators across the country and now participate in conversations. I wrote a blog post this fall and this was the message I received on Twitter later that day...
3) Understand Where Technology Fits In Education
Many teachers (myself included at times) feel that they must find a way to incorporate technology into every lesson. A year ago, I felt this pressure on a regular basis. However, I have quickly learned that if you have to force technology into the lesson, you probably don't need it. If you can take your lesson to the next level by using technology, you probably should. I remind myself that it is still okay to use coloring crayons.
4) Know How To Find Useful Resources
This is still a challenge for me. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the incredible amount of information on the web. However, I have to go back to my PLN to answer this one. There are many times that I will rely on them to help get me pointed in the right direction. I don't claim to be an expert on anything, so I try to find people that are.
5) Manage Your Online Reputation
I take this very seriously and try to share my views with my students and fellow teachers. We all value our real world reputation, why should our virtual reputation be any different? Before I post anything, I think about how it will come across to the reader/viewer and whether that is the message I am intending. I try to be open and honest without being excessively open and honest. I don't need to tweet/post my every thought, but I do want the people who follow me to get a true sense of who I am. I also am sure to understand my privacy settings on social media tools so that I can control who sees what. For example, my Twitter profile is open for anyone to view because I use it for professional development. However, my Instagram account is private because I use it for more personal reasons, such as to share photos of my kids with family and friends. Everybody has their own opinion, but I think everyone should take an active role in controlling their own online reputation in a positive way.
6) Know How To Correctly Blog
I love that blogging is what you want it to be. However, there are some good points made in the article. The biggest point made is that you shouldn't over share information, especially if it is other peoples information that you are trying to post without their knowledge. Blogging isn't about gossiping, it is about sharing with others in the effort to improve this world we live in.
7) Slow Down
Although I am not perfect at this, I do believe I am better than I used to be. As a beginning teacher I was so focused on getting through the material, I didn't think enough about how the lesson was coming across or whether students were engaged in what we were doing. Now with ten years of experience, if we don't get through everything I intended to get through because we were engaging in a meaning discussion about a particular topic, so be it.
Love this idea. Sometimes I feel the pressure to jump onto every possible social media tool there is, but I have quickly decided that I will only use the tools that I will actually use. I am active on Twitter and Instagram and am becoming more familiar with Google+. However, Facebook has never really been my thing. I have an account (less than a year old), but I don't really use it, and I think that is okay. The article talks about periodically trimming down the tools and networks you use. I compare this to bookmarking sites on a web browser. How many of us have bookmarked so many things that our bookmark folder looks like another version of the internet because there are so many links? We need to okay with cutting the cord sometimes.
9) Don't Be Afraid to Fail
We started a new project in my World History course this semester and from day one I told my students that failure is an option. I want my students (and myself) to understand that failure is a natural part of the learning process. Sure, sometimes we fail because we didn't try, but often failure is the result of a real attempt at trying something new. We shouldn't allow the possibility of failure to dictate what we do. If we did, we would accomplish very much.
10) Know When To Disconnect
This is one the most difficult things for me. I find myself compelled to check Twitter for new info, Instagram for new photos, and YouTube for new videos. It can be consuming. Therefore, I have tried to intentionally unplug. When I get home, I will try and make a conscious decision to take my phone out of my pocket and place it on a dresser so it is no longer readily available. Although it doesn't completely address the compulsion, it can reduce my ability to act on the impulse.
What are your thoughts? Am I a modern educator? Are you? Please leave a comment and join the conversation.