By Teachers, For Teachers
Our era offers unprecedented opportunities to use technology in the classroom to connect to others around the world, which means one great thing—more information sharing. Naturally, however, it also means that those who aren’t as natively connected with others can easily fall further behind the curve. For teachers, this “keeping up with the Joneses” connectivity tech race can be a daunting, but truly essential step amongst your staff and your classroom.
Read a blog post or article and leave comments. After reading an interesting article, reflect on what it means to you, and share that thought. It’s a very low-pressure scenario, which makes it a great first step—you can speak your peace and move on. You’ll notice that others will leave comments too, and there’s even opportunity for respondents to reply directly to one another. (Tip: Try this RIGHT NOW in the comments section of THIS article!)
Share a Google Doc. Educators are frequently creating documents on Word and similar applications. Google Docs is specifically designed to allow you to share those documents with others. When you want colleagues to see what you’ve created, all you have to do is click that blue “Share” button in the upper right hand corner and type their e-mail addresses. You can even post the link online to reach a broader audience.
Engage in Social Bookmarking. Social bookmarking is exactly what it sounds like—you can bookmark resources and leave a “tag” about them for others to see. Educators can see what other educators say about various websites, and share comments of their own with others. Check out delicious.com, pinterest.com, or this helpful link to engage and learn more!
Join Goodreads.com. Goodreads is a website dedicated to discussing good books—thousands of others have read, recommended, reviewed, and organized a wide array of texts that may be relevant to you. When you join, you can develop your own “shelves” of books you’ve read, are reading, or want to read, and then add your own reviews!
Take Part in a Twitter Chat. Teachers love Twitter, and it is perhaps one of the easiest and best methods of connecting quickly with others. A Twitter chat takes place using a specific hashtag, like #edchat or #elemchat, and occurs at a specific time weekly. All you have to do is read what others tweet about and share a few thoughts of your own! Find the twitter chats you might be interested in here.
Remember, don’t just lurk on the fringes of the information superhighway—get connected!
What are some other easy steps educators can take to get connected and interactive? Share your ideas in the comments below!
Jordan Catapano is a high school English teacher in a Chicago suburb. In addition to being National Board Certificated, he also has worked with the Illinois Association of Teachers of English and currently serves as a school board member for a private school. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuffEnglish, or visit his website ACTWritingTips.com.