The Five W's of Social Media and Blogging
I was asked at short notice to present at NAMA 2015 conference on the 7th March on the importance of social media and blogging. With just over a week to turn the presentation around, it was ironic that I turned to some of my key twitter followers to ask for advice. After speaking with @ICTEvangelist in depth and @TeamTait I felt confident on how to start, thank you for your help and support gentlemen.
I wanted to make my session interactive and as such I created a #TweetNAMA chat. I thought it important that I didn't just present my views of social media to those in attendance of the workshop. So, beforehand I asked my followers and twitter four questions.
1) Why do you use twitter and how has it developed your practice?
2) Which are the best # chats to get involved in and why?
3) How have blogs impacted on your teaching?
4) Who would you recommend new teachers to twitter follow and why?
The response to these questions was great and I would like to thank my followers for making this part of my workshop doable. I turned the responses into a Storify which can been seen below. The replies were truly humbling and really helped highlight the supportive and collaborative nature of the educational twitter community and the virtual world.
The key aspect I aimed to convey today was that of social media allowing people to access outstanding FREE CPD/pedagogy on a daily basis. I provided all delegates who attended my workshop with a handout of the key maths and school chats, blogging sites and people to follow; I would hasten to add here that list is not exhaustive but the amount of room on the page for the handout was.
The session looked closely at teacher issues of;
- Confidence to self promote
This section was discussion led and interesting to hear many opinions. Confidence to be able to 'shamelessly self promote' was a key concern.
However this led to the discussion of what you are doing is sharing your thoughts and opinions. One person may find this interesting while another finds it of no use. If you are blogging and tweeting don't do it just to get 'x' amount of reads, as you will most likely be sorely disappointed. Readers take a while to build up. With many teachers using their blogs as personal reflections of their teaching practice, which they allow others to view the, I believe that teaching profession has never been so open.
I openly encouraged the delegates to get on twitter and become 'twitter stalkers' for a while. Twitter is a powerful tool and you don't have to tweet to gain something from twitter; although I believe after 'twitter stalking' for a while you will soon catch the bug and start sharing your thoughts and ideas. Twitter and blogging is addictive! Whether you are a 'twitter stalker' or an open sharer I would always advise you change your profile picture from the original egg, so that people know you are human and less likely to be a BOT. Remember your picture can be anything from a knight in shining Armour to a frog.
We then looked at Mark Anderson's idea of the anatomy of a tweet and how to use twitter. Bringing the session onto a great chat about professional and personal learning networks, a PLN. One must be very careful when tweeting and expressing their opinions when they are identifiable or linked to a company. However your twitter account doesn't need to have any identifiable features to you allowing you to express your opinions openly if you so wish.
One of the major benefits of twitter is the hash tag chats. These happen at set times throughout the week and are great for pedagogy. Often these chats are steered by questions voted on by tweeters. Nicky Morgan, educational secretory of state, even hosted a twitter chat recently. During these chats click the star button and favourite any comments you wanted to read in more detail and reflect upon later. You will later find these in the favourites category on your homepage. One thing many often forget to do when getting involved in these chats though is to place #chatname at the end of their own tweets. This means others following the chat won't be able to see your valuable comments. The following three images from Jon Taits Blog on twitter chats are extremely useful in highlighting how to approach a chat.
This then moved us onto looking at blogging and how teachers often link and incorporate twitter and blogging together. Educationalists do this to develop and share
- Good Practice
- Discuss national trending topics
Blogs more often than not show the growth and development of outstanding practitioners. Below is a list of key useful blogs I would advise everyone takes a look at as a starting point.
Mark Anderson - Digital Technology
Jon Tait - The Global Classroom and Flipped Learning
Ross McGill - Teaching and Learning
Amjad Ali - Journey into Senior Leadership
Jo Morgan - Maths Pedagogy
Mary Myatt - Teaching and Learning
Danielle Bartram - Maths and Teaching and Learning
Barry Dunn - 100 Word Book Reviews
Blogs and twitter can be used for so much more though. As mentioned in the earlier Storify practitioners are using it as a tool to engage both students and parents/carers by giving an insight into the school life and classroom.
With our students being brought up in a digitally dynamic world, we need to use social media to enhance learning and engage students. Student blogs are a great way for you and them to track and record their learning journeys.
Both school and department blogs and twitter accounts are also used for
- Collaboration Projects
- Flipped Learning
- Personalised learning
- Support structures
- Revision tool
I really had a great day at the NAMA conference and would recommended people to attend in future and become a member. The caliber of pedagogy of its members and those in attendance at the conference was extremely impressive.