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Social media mandates for teachers?

9 Sep 2014 by Insight Editor

Recently I was working with a teacher and she mentioned that her previous principal had required each teacher to have a Twitter account. Although I understood the intention, I disagreed with this leader’s methods of getting the teachers on board with social media.

Don’t get me wrong- I love Twitter for my own professional development. I learn so much from my professional learning network and feel it is a great place to stay current on trends in educational technology. Even though I am a fan, I remind myself to take a step back to avoid being a Twitter evangelist.

Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Google Plus, 45% of K–12 teachers update a social-networking site for work purposes, according to Scholastic Instructor’s Social Media for Teachers infographic.

Just as I would not want teachers to use the same teaching strategy for every student, I would not want to assume every teacher  wants to tweet. Using social media in education is not a fingerprint card- teachers can still do their job without one.

Requiring teachers to learn a new app, blog with their students or jump into a social media platform is not the way to integrate technology into the classroom. As the saying goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

True transformation happens when teachers are able to create solutions for their classrooms using technology. In the ed tech world, the saying goes, “when they need it, they will use it.” Everything means more in real-time. Most of my coaching is spent in classrooms where teachers and students learning alongside each other.

One way to encourage teachers with social media is to wait until they ask you the question. How do you know about all this cool stuff? That gives you permission to share. Another way is to model using it. Share resources with staff from your social media network and they may want to join based on what they are learning.

Social media is just that: social. We all communicate differently and have different interests. For one reason or another, I have compartmentalized my social networks to different areas of my life.

  • Facebook: personal
  • Twitter: work
  • Google+: work
  • Pinterest: party planning
  • Instagram: none- when is there time?

Maybe you do the same, maybe you don’t. However, I think mandating teachers to use certain tools may have the opposite effect getting teachers connected.

It is not about using red marker to complete the work, it is about the work being completed. Whether teachers use red, blue, or yellow, they should get a choice in how it is done.

What social media do you use for professional development or inspiration?

 

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