|Growing Social Media by mkhmarketing, Flickr.com.|
Social media is completely changing the way we think about education.
It started from a seed; something we did for fun in our spare time. Now, social media has allowed us to create connections that were never possible before. It has grown into something we use for professional development, resources, and relationships.
Social media has allowed us to build networks with people all over the world. In her book, Social Media for Educators, author Tanya Joosten explains how educators can easily make connections with people in their field, and this gives them greater access to connections, information, and colleagues (Joosten, p.16). One great example of this that is often used in education is Twitter. Searchable hashtags allow you to track information that is important or valuable to you. You can find people who are talking about the things you're interested in, and join in conversations about those topics.
Also according to Joosten, social media is organic. In order to experience this organic nature and grow your social network, it's especially important to learn to be authentic and human through social media. If you're open to new ideas, criticism, and unpredictability, it can lead to "unintended, beneficial results," like new connections and valuable input from others that may not have been possible without social media (Joosten, p. 28). Being open with social media helps us gain trust with the people who interact with us, and this can lead to relationships and interactions that help us grow as educators.
One of the things I get most excited for about social media in education is the growth that is sure to come from future teachers. Joosten also talks about how by participating in social media, teachers are more apt to understand technology and feel comfortable using it in their classrooms. This has been shown to help increase effectiveness with student learning, but many teachers struggle with implementing social media when they haven't had much experience with it. This is something that I feel will start to change as the younger teachers (myself included) start to emerge in the field of education. I consider myself to be a digital native; I can't remember a time when I didn't know how to use a computer. I've been using social media for more than half of my life. My generation has grown up with social media, which, in my opinion, makes us the most well-equipped to implement it into our future classrooms. We know how social media works, we've used it extensively, and now it's our time to use it effectively in the classroom. Social media can also be an amazing resource for us young teachers; check out this short article on how social media is helping young teachers stay in the field.
These are just a few of my observations about how social media is growing and changing the way we view education. Read this blog post about some other ways social media has changed traditional education, and comment below if there are any others you can think of! How do you see social media reshaping the way we do education? Do you think that social media is changing the way we learn?