Editor’s Note: I “messed-up” and forgot to include this response from Angela Der Ramos in my Ed Week series on using social media for learning.
Angela Der Ramos is a Teacher at Loya Elementary School in the Alisal Unified School District in Salinas, California and is a member of the Instructional Leadership Corps, a collaboration among the California Teachers Association, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, and the National Board Resource Center at Stanford.
Welcome to This Side of the Chalkboard, where teachers can share ideas, stories, resources, and support.
The Chalkboard Rules:
1) Be Polite. Play nice with the kids on the playground. Colorful language is acceptable, however. Gotta let loose of those F*bombs we self censored all day, as long as they’re not aimed at each other. Swearing is cathartic.
2) Be Positive. Venting is often necessary, and we are here to support. but griping is lame. Constructive criticism must be accompanied with helpful and positive suggestions.
3) Be Professional. Keep it on topic and about our shared concerns as a community of educators. Please be an active member of the community. Seek and share knowledge by posting and contributing!
4) Be Productive. Innovate. Cogitate. Imagine. Dream. Create. Collaborate. Share. Teach!
-source: This Side of the Chalkboard
What does good teaching look like, sound like, and feel like?
These are the questions guiding the curation of posts on the Facebook page “This Side of the Chalkboard.” It is a place for educators to geek out on teaching and learning. It is also a place to organize professionally around pedagogy.
My colleagues and I were just coming out of a nasty political fight in our district. It was very public, and very brutal. The “bad teacher” narrative was their argument. Ineffective, uncaring, lazy lot of greedy teachers is who we had become in the public eye.
Except we were not. We were innovative, caring, and smart educators who thought deeply about our work and our students. We were good teachers.
That was the message of This Side of the Chalkboard: The “good teacher” narrative.
The page has now grown to nearly 1000 members who have elevated the page to an effective place for professional development and growth, simply by continuing the conversation about what we believe and hold true about our profession.
Professional development on social media is like an extended PLC, with the ability to cut across schedule and geographic constraints. You can scroll your feed at 2:00 AM. My recommendation is to pick the platform that is intuitive towards your style of learning. Each platform has a learning curve, and each has a different pace and interaction level.
Twitter is good if you want a specific kind of content. If you want to teach with Minecraft, for example, or if you are in need of TOSA peer support, Twitter has a stream of resources and chats.
Pinterest is a visual PD platform, with content like anchor charts, graphic organizers, and modified learning space. Think super-teacher electronic scrapbook.
My preferred platform is Facebook. I like the interactive ability to respond to and ask questions, as well as the ability to post pictures and videos easily. Plus, Facebook pretty much rules the social media world, as it is the most popular platform. Groups and pages can be set at various levels of privacy, and the scope of topics can be as wide ranging as the owner or administrator of the page wants it to be.
Whatever platform you choose, by simply participating in the grand conversation and articulating what you believe is good and true about education, you have taken the first step in claiming your profession, so jump in and find your tribe.