' I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder how we could have tolerated anything so primitive.' John W Gardner
For approximately 185 days a year from 7:45am until 4:15pm I belong to my district. During that time I have a variety of duties including teaching students face-t0-face as well as teaching students online. When I am not engaged in either one of those activities I certainly have no problem figuring out things to keep me busy. Not just sitting behind a computer pretending to be busy, but really doing things that matter. I do things like work on future classes that I would like to teach, tweak my online classes, and plan training camps for teacher. I’m also the go to girl when people have tech questions. During my office hours I have Tweetdeck open and I spend time reading through the stream on the lookout for any tidbits of information that might help me. There are times when I work with other teachers on different projects. Typically we have a GoogleDoc open and work on these projects as we have time during the day. I also read various educational blogs and once in a while I manage to hammer out a post during the day. The conversations that I have with teachers online have taught me so much and have helped me grow.
I think it is safe to say that 80% of the people I am friends with on Facebook I’m also connect with on Twitter. They are also members of some of the Nings I frequent and they write many of the blogs that I read. The one place where I WILL NOT go while I am on the clock is Facebook. While almost 200 of my friends on Facebook are educators most of the are not terribly active during the school day. From time to time they hop on Twitter, but I rarely see them actively engaging on Facebook.
I cannot count how many times I have heard educators say that Twitter is the most amazing source for self-directed professional development they have ever experienced. When was the last time you heard someone say that about Facebook? Exactly. Do you see where I am going with this?
Twitter, Nings, blogs, Facebook as well as other sites give us the ability to connect and share on a personal level as well as a professional one. While there are many educational pages and people who post educational content on Facebook, I don’t find nearly as much professional content on there as I find on other channels. While I have conversations that stray off the educational path on Twitter, they help me build stronger relationships with people that I consider to be my greatest sources of information. I would define this as professional networking. When I’m on Twitter my intent is to learn and share. When I am on Facebook my purpose is to catch up with friends and family and socialize. I think it is perfectly acceptable to ask my employer to provide me with time to explore and learn with educators. However, I do not expect them to pay me to chat with my friends and family during the school day. I cannot help but wonder how many hours are squandered by teachers who are just as obsessed with Facebook as their students are.
What are your thoughts? How do you use these different networking tools?