Happy Social Media Day!
Governor Rick Snyder has declared June 30 as “Social Media Day” in Michigan. As an educator from the metro Detroit area, I took some time this morning to think about the impact social media has had on my professional practice. While there are immediate benefits such as meeting new people, building new friendships, and providing me a forum to share my work with the world, the three biggest benefits to social media in our business hinge on reflection, learning, and collaboration. These three words are at the center of what makes an effective educator.
Writing about the work we are doing at our school through my blog or on twitter gives me the opportunity to take a pause and really think about different projects or initiatives. This process has pushed me to think about what goes well, and where we could improve as an organization. Moreover, it focuses my attention on how I can improve as an administrator. When I sit down to write about what I learned about at a conference, about a PD day our staff put together, or something I have read, it gives me a second opportunity to think things through. Social media has made me a more reflective educator.
Between my RSS reader and Twitter, I am following the work of some of the brightest people in our profession from all over the world. When I sit down to read about their work, I’m inspired, pushed to think, and my knowledge base grows. A book club, along with professional articles about best practices, assessment, and leadership have enhanced my work, I have learned about multiple new ideas because of social media.
Education is not a zero sum game, we are much better as a profession when we work together. My PLN has helped me work through several projects and put some ideas together to manage the realities of our school. Twitter has allowed local educators (through the hashtag #ocprincipals) to come together and share ideas and to help one another make our operations more efficient. Next year, our school has a comprehensive parent plan to improve our community participation in our instructional program. Many of those ideas were gained in conversations with other school leaders on Twitter.
Social media breaks down walls and allows for opportunities for professional growth all day, every day. For educators, it helps us collaborate, learn, and reflect, which are three major stops on the road to success. Today, take a minute and think about how social media has impacted you and what next steps you can take to make it even more beneficial.