Ohio educators are facing a barrage of new initiatives, such as the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, Ohio’s New Learning Standards and the next generation of assessments that require multiple changes in practice all at the same time. As educators begin wading into the waters, they increasingly are turning to social media for insight and support from their colleagues statewide. Even if you have little experience in social media, here are a few tools you can use that are quickly developing into invaluable education-reform communications tools.
If you are a teacher and you are not on Twitter, you are missing out on what amounts to free professional development discussions with colleagues around the state. Twitter is quickly catching on with some of the best and brightest local educators right now, such as @Dwight_Carter, @ChristinaHank and @DrJoeClark, some of the more prolific educator bloggers in the state. Because Twitter limits what is posted to 140 characters, posts contain concise information and often links to web-based resources. It’s a good way to plug in and get answers quickly.
A quickly growing Twitter resource is #ohedchat, a weekly conversation sponsored by State Impact Ohio, a collaboration of several Ohio public radio stations and NPR and moderated by several Ohio educators. Each week you can cast your vote for a topic to be tackled the following week. The first two chats covered the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System and Ohio’s New Learning Standards, including the Common Core. Join the chat each Monday night from 9-10 p.m. Just go to Twitter.com and enter the #ohedchat hashtag in the search box. To view past chats, see the chat archives at www.ohedchat.wordpress.com.
Once described as “Facebook for work” because users post resume-like work experiences and make connections to co-workers and colleagues, LinkedIn has a quickly growing group conversation function that promotes discussion of topics of interest to the group.
ODE has established the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System group on LinkedIn to give educators a place to share ideas, experiences and expertise. To join the group and begin contributing, you will need a LinkedIn account and profile. Once you’ve have secured that, join the group here. Feel free to share this link with fellow educators who might be interested in joining and contributing.
For a teacher’s view of the power of social media, read the blog post Twitter Chats: PD in Your PJs, by Kevin Dengel, a music teacher at Ganhanna-Jefferson School District.
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