Life Hacks to teacher networking – Discuss some best practice that can help teachers network in this technocentric environment. Discuss at least 2 tools and 2 techniques. When people think of networking they think of large businesses, meeting new clients, and getting to know people in similar fields. Well networking is also a large part of the field of education. Teacher networking can help teachers from around the world can get together and discuss different lessons, resources, classroom management skills, and perspectives on teaching. Basically anything that has to deal with the job of a teacher. These places are usually positive environments where professionals come together to better themselves and hopefully contribute to better others.
One effective and popular networking tool for teachers is Twitter. Twitter is a social media website that allows people to post messages that are no larger then 140 characters (letters or spaces). Previously used as a mainly social tool, many professionals, businesses, and educators have turned to twitter to help give out ideas on lessons, online and offline resources, and online support for other students. Teachers can create a twitter for free and post different links to lessons they have used, classroom resources, or other online links that they find helpful or interesting to them. You also can follow different accounts that suit the information that you need. An elementary teacher can decide to follow people and organizations that are more suited for younger ages, while a high school spanish teacher can follow accounts that deal with their subject. Some cool educational twitter accounts are listed below: Edutopia TEDtalks FlippedClassroom
Another popular tool that is a little more specific in the group of professionals is called the Flipped Learning Network, which is a professional learning community that is comprised of teachers that are either trying or have already flipped their classrooms. I will not go in depth of what a flipped classroom is because that is not part of the blog, the importance is simply an example of a very strong professional community that benefits their members. Another reason I chose this learning community was because I have also personally been helped by this community. FlippedClassroom.org is a cool website that brings together many different flipped classroom educators and allows them to share tips, experiences, classroom resources, technology resources, as well as lessons and feedback. When I used the website I was looking for a teacher to interview about their own flipped classroom and within hours multiple people had responded back to my thread saying they wanted to help. The learning community has a large amount of visitors from many different levels and subjects or education.
With these new tools that you now have, there are some techniques that can help you as a teacher network and collaborate with other teachers. One technique that can be used with twitter is simply talking to other teachers in your school about whether they have a twitter account, asking to follow them for a professional account, or even creating or starting a school wide/ subject wide twitter to help communicate with other school distracts, with teachers, and with parents. A technique that would go well with the flipped learning classroom would be to attend different flipped learning classroom professional development workshops and bring other teachers from your school that may be interested. A large part of social networking is the social part. It is important to get other teachers involved with you to make the process more fun and engaging. The more people that join the network and constantly participate strengthen the community.