Blogging is an awesome way to access information on a specific topic that you want to learn more about. In my free time, I have my own blog that I post to regarding nutrition information and my journey with health. It is an excellent medium for people to interact with information on subjects that cannot be summarized via social media apps like Instagram or Twitter– or be characterized in 250 words or less. As a future educator, I think that blogs are highly beneficial for students and teaching professionals to use, as they allow for open discussion and provoke thought among their readers. In my own classroom, I would make my blog open to my class and other educators. That way, the student (or educator) could look up any additional information that they missed in class (for further clarification) or in the case of educators, see what types of lessons and activities I am doing with my students. Blogs are a wonderful platform to get involved with your education in a way that goes beyond social media. It is a step further than Twitter or Instagram: offering a deeper understanding of those around you.
Prior to reading this article, I did not know what Twitter chats were. It was incredible to learn that simply from searching up a hashtag, one could look at past chats or even live chats– all in which they could interact with. Typically Twitter chats include an A and a number following it, signifying what question a person participating in the chat is answering. It is good to note that Twitter chats work on real time, so people participating in them can see immediate tweets in response to their questions. That is why Twitter chats are considered one of the best ways for educators to connect with other educators and keep open dialogue in relation to new resources and ideas, or assistance if they need it. In terms of time, Twitter chats generally last one hour and the time is predetermined by the group of educators. That way there is a greater probability of participants and more interaction via the chat. The biggest takeaway, personally, was to be prepared for the chat ahead of time, so that you could have the best possible experience with Twitter chats.
Personally, I am a big user of social media. I frequently check my Instagram accounts and Snapchat, making room for VSCO, TikTok, and Twitter here and there. I adore being connected with others and seeing the latest and greatest in peoples’ lives. In regards to Twitter, I think that it is a great platform to get students– and educators– connected with because it is fairly easy to use and is accessible to most people. It is a phenomenal way for educators to stay connected with other educators, while simultaneously having their students do the same: with the overall goal being academic growth. The most valuable tip that I learned was the importance of sticking with it. Twitter is not for everyone at first, but giving it several tries before ultimately deciding that you do not like it could make the difference.
After reading up on personal learning networks, it was eye-opening to see how many different platforms educators can be apart of– without having to be in the classroom. Personally, I was not aware that there was a specific term referring to the usage of Twitter or Facebook as a means to communicate away from the classroom. Upon reading and watching explanations on what exactly personal learning networks (PLNs) are, it has become clear how crucial these platforms are in facilitating learning. By definition, PLNs are, “Networks that allow people and resources that support ongoing learning.” They can exist in the business world, various vocations, or as hobbies. What is interesting about PLNs is that you can choose how you want to interact with it. You can “lurk” and watch what others discuss; or you can “share” and contribute to the conversation yourself. By being a connected educator, a professional, in turn, opens up a platform for their students to be apart of, while educating themselves on the happenings away from the classroom.