This week I began a course on Social Network Learning. We were assigned to join a class Facebook page, Twitter, DIIGO, and set up a blog. Joining the class Facebook page was the easiest. I have been on Facebook for many years and have found that it is easy to use its features. From there, my level of familiarity with the rest of the social networks diminished. I’ve had a Twitter account since 2013, but have pretty much used it to follow famous people, music groups, TV shows, and some members of the education profession. I have never Tweeted anything of my own before and barely opened the app let alone set up a Tweetdeck. I previously set up a DIIGO account and WordPress blog during my first EDTECH class at Boise State. I have been using my WordPress blog throughout my coursework at Boise State. I think it is pretty easy to use, but sometimes its limitations can be frustrating. DIIGO is the tool that intimidates me the most. Apparently I also set it up in my EDTECH 501 class, but I have rarely used it since. By sitting and watching the tutorial videos under module one for this class, I think that I have much to learn about this tool.
I think that social media is an excellent tool to use for professional development and I wish I would use it more. I have liked and followed a few educational technology groups in Facebook and educational technology professionals in Twitter, but I don’t feel like I use the tools to their fullest extent. I will occasionally click on one of their articles or links if they look interesting, but typically gloss through them. Sometimes the amount of information overload that is out there can be overwhelming and I feel that I do not have the time to sift through it all. It is more helpful for me to seek out particular information and topics as needed. This may not be the best method, but it works for me at this time.
I have never used social media as an instructional strategy with my students. It is something that I have thought about pursuing, but I haven’t figured out how to effectively use these tools with them. I know that many of the students use social media on their personal devices, but I worry about how to use the tools with them in school. I have not figured out how to safely set them up with accounts especially since many of these tools have age limits above the age of my students. I also worry that even though I teach digital citizenship and we have acceptable use policies in place, the students will use these tools incorrectly and both they and I will get in trouble with parents and administration.
In this EDTECH 543 course, it is my goal to develop relevant professional learning networks using social networking. I would like to be able to organize the information from these professional learning networks so that it is meaningful and not so overwhelming. I’d like to be able to use what I have learned and share it with my colleagues at my school so that they can build professional learning networks of their own. I would also like to learn how to use social networks in the classroom. There is a wealth of information and knowledgeable people out there and I would love to be able to show my students how to use these tools effectively as they move through their educational experiences.