Social Networks. Personal Networks. Social Media. Online Learning Communities. All of these words came to mind when signing up for this course. In fact many more words, phrases, and tools initially crossed my mind when considering whether or not to sign up for this course. Some of these words are familiar to me because I have a developed some foundation on these topics, and other words crossed my mind because I am somewhat intimidated by them.
I also thought back to the day I signed up for a Twitter account. Little did I know that the person who first exposed me to the power of Twitter is now someone I consider to be “Twitter Famous”. I was sitting next to Alice Keeler (if you are a teacher who is interested in technology and you’re on Twitter, I would be willing to bet you have seen her name mentioned), and she helped me set up my account, explained the basics of Twitter to me, and encouraged me to jump in. That was several years ago, and Twitter was something I wrongly assumed was for people interested in celebrity gossip. It took be a long, long time to realize that Twitter was actually a powerful tool for me to connect with other educators. I’ve made some strong connections and received valuable resources and information from other educators around the globe in the time that I’ve used it. I know, however, that I have more to learn about other ways to connect, share, and learn with others who share my same interests and passions when it comes to education and learning.
As a middle school teacher, I have a basic understanding of the laws in place to protect young students when it come to technology use. I am also keenly aware that all of my students- despite the fact that many of them are underage-have at least a small handful of social media accounts. I am torn between following the law and living in reality when it comes to using social media in the classroom. As we work through the coursework in this class, I hope to gain better insight as to how to make social media work in my classroom while still following the rules.
By the end of this course, I hope I will have developed a strong understanding of the power of social networking as it relates to my personal growth and the growth of my students.