Currently I am working on my Leading Edge Certification for the Online and Blended Teacher.  This certification is also available through the online 18 unit certificate program through CUE and Fresno Pacific University.  Innovative Educator Advanced Studies Certificate: http://cue.org/ieasc

As part of module 4 I am to write a blog post about social networks.

I am an active participant on twitter.  Twitter is very important to me as an educator as it   provides me with access to innovative educators around the globe.  At a single school site, the staff has a general exposure to the same PD opportunities and cultural vision.  To learn what is going on at other schools, to find new ideas, to have a team of educators who can lend ideas and lesson plans, to encourage me to be excited about teaching… twitter is essential.  Twitter is a community of educators who care about teaching and learning and who help me to be better.

The internet helps my learning by providing free resources, blog posts, research, social connections and a way for me to share my own resources that I create.  One can not expect to get if one does not give.

I definitely find myself distracted by the internet.  What is great about twitter is I follow educators I respect, so when they post an article I know that it is good.  I can get lost in reading articles about education, but they are all good.  So my work may be a little delayed but I’m brimming with new ideas of how I can address student learning.

When I encounter educators and try to sell them on twitter, many times their expression of horror let’s me know that their exposure to twitter is one in which their students and friends use it to post what they are eating.  Rule: Do not use twitter like facebook and do not follow people who do.  This is not about following your friends, it is about creating a network of people who help inspire you and make you a better educator.  So we do not use twitter like our students use twitter, as educators we may get some tips from students on what a hashtag is, but in general students use it differently.  Twitter is a professional network where we socialize about education on our terms, not what is prescribed by the district.

Who teaches students how to use the internet and to be responsible adults?  It is easy to say that is the job of the parents, however, realistically the majority of their waking hours are at school or doing school work.  Students will be on the web, and like us can be distracted by social networks and fun things they can do on the internet.  Using Web 2.0 tools and doing research on the web opens up many possibilities for how the students can become creators and innovators in their education rather than just consumers, but first they have to learn how to be wise consumers.  Built into every lesson, every assignment, every day we need to be discussing responsible use.  www.commonsensemedia.org is a great starting place for lesson plans, posters and resources to help teachers start  guiding the conversation and teaching students how the web can enrich them professionally and not just be a place to show what you’re having for lunch.

Think about how the Internet has impacted your own personal learning, communication, and sense of community.

Write a new post that includes:

1. A screenshot showing your participation in a social or professional network

2. A summary of how you use that network for personal or professional connections or for new learning.

In your post reflect on the following:

3. When does the Internet help your learning?

4. When does it distract from good learning for you?

5. How might your answers to these questions be similar to or different from the answers your students might give?

6. How might you support your students in using the Internet as their own personal learning space?