Technology has become an integral part of classroom life. While students certainly reap the benefits of having a wealth of information at their fingertips, teachers like you can also capitalize on technology’s many uses.
New and veteran teachers alike can utilize the Internet to build their Personal Learning Networks, gaining classroom know-how and connections that will help advance your career.
What is a Personal Learning Network?
Unlike your classroom, your Personal Learning Network (PLN) is available to you seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It consists of all of the educational sites that you join to have discussions with other educators and find classroom resources.
You can participate in scheduled chats on Twitter, write and comment on educational blogs, and join websites that offer discussion forums and other resources. Not only will you gain valuable pedagogical knowledge, you will be able to bounce your own teaching ideas off of peers and administrators.
Twitter is one of the best tools for building your PLN. It is a social networking site that allows you to post and receive messages. The messages are called “tweets,” and when you send a tweet, everyone who subscribes to your page (your followers) receives it.
Since Twitter is massive and you may have some difficulty finding the types of groups that you would choose to follow, twitter4teachers was created to organize accounts based on subject areas. The topics include early childhood, English as a second language, 21st century learning and much, much more. You do need an account in order to participate in discussions, which is free and easy to setup. TeachHub also offers scheduled weekly chats for teachers.
Blogging has become incredibly popular in classrooms. With a blog (or “web log”), you can write ongoing commentary related to a specific subject. There are a number of websites that offer free blogging tools, like WordPress and Blogger. Teachers can set up blogs to stay connected with parents and students. You can also benefit from reading and commenting on others’ blogs.
For example: USC Rossier offers information on continuing education, classroom management and other aspects of education on their blog; Teach.com cover the latest educational news; and Certification Map has teacher profiles and other interesting tidbits.
A note about blogging: As With anything that you post to cyberspace, be mindful of what you write on your blog or as comments on the blogs of others. Once you post, you leave a “cyber footprint” that others can view (including students, parents and administrators).
Pinterest is an online pinboard on which you can share and discover lessons and resources. Many schools and organizations have Facebookpages that can be useful for organizing or even just socializing. Teach Hub, as mentioned earlier, also offers education news, teaching blogs and lesson plans. And remember: More invaluable resources are just a Google search away!
Once upon a time, networking meant going to conferences and getting out there and meeting people. LinkedIn, however, has made networking on a global basis much easier and effective, allowing users to network with people worldwide from the convenience of their own home or office.
LinkedIn has quickly established itself as one of the top social networking sites for individuals and business owners who want to network with others, to widen their customer base, and to keep on top of what’s going on in their respective industries.
Succeeding at marketing with LinkedIn requires time and effort and trying the various methods for marketing with the popular social networking platform is important to find what works for your business.
1. Sell Your Skills.
Whether you opt for an individual or a company profile, your profile is the best way to market your product or service and to sell your skills. A LinkedIn profile is essentially an extended resume that includes a photo and recommendations from others. Fill it out completely to get the most of it from a marketing perspective.
2. Have others Sell You.
One of the most effective ways to win new business is to get recommendations from colleagues and current and former clients. LinkedIn allows you to request recommendations for each position in which you’ve worked and for your college experience. To take full advantage of marketing on LinkedIn, gather as many recommendations as you possibly can.
3. Position Yourself as an Expert.
LinkedIn offers an ideal platform to position yourself as an expert in your field or industry. In addition to individual profiles, LinkedIn allows users to post company profiles. Ideally, if you run a business, you’ll have one of each.
People want to work with experts in their respective fields. To build your credibility and share your expertise, become active in answering questions in LinkedIn’s “Question and Answer” section. Every question you answer will become a permanent part of your profile, allowing connections and others to see your wealth of knowledge.
Be sure to also join related groups and start answering members’ questions.
4. Network Offline.
Networking online provides great convenience, but sometimes you just can’t compare it to face-to-face networking. Find networking events in your city by looking at the “Networking Events” on LinkedIn. Major cities, like Los Angeles and Cleveland, also have their own listings of networking events.
You may also want to host your own networking event, which you can then market on LinkedIn.
5. Link to other Social Networking Accounts.
Keeping on top of all of your social networking accounts can be challenging, but LinkedIn makes it easy to merge your Twitter account and your blog with your profile. You can sync your Twitter account and your blog with LinkedIn, so both are automatically updated when you publish something new. Signing up for syncing takes less than a minute. Interested connections and others can then easily click on your Twitter address, your website, or your blog to learn more.
LinkedIn can prove an extremely valuable marketing tool, if you’re willing to get involved and be proactive. Take some time to look through the website, to read what LinkedIn recommends for what works and what doesn’t work, and invest the necessary time to craft a strong professional profile and to establish your expertise to enjoy marketing success on LinkedIn.