The real name of this post should be Confessions of an eHoarder. Why? Well, because I am an ehoarder. I spend a good deal of my free time combing through the internet exploring, discovering, and collecting information. There is a lot of great stuff out there. So much, that it can be very overwhelming. So how does one manage it without going crazy? Well, read on my friend and I’ll tell you my secret.
I’ve presented on this topic several times. To teachers, school administrators, soon to be teachers, and small business owners. (See the Prezi below.)
Every time I do this talk, I hear some of the same things from social media newbies –
“There is so much. Where do I start?”
“What if I do something wrong?”
“How do I filter out all of the garbage and find the good stuff?”
All very good questions. I find that many of the folks I talk to are hesitant to start using social media because they just don’t know where to start. Some don’t even want to start because it seems like such a time consuming endeavor. We all know that in today’s world time is a precious commodity. And let’s face it, social media can be a time sink. Who wants to use their limited free time sorting through cat videos and internet memes just to find a classroom activity on dividing fractions? Not me. (Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cat video or internet meme as much as the next person and if I could find a cat video on dividing fractions, life would be awesome!)
In all seriousness, social media can be a great form of free professional development. More and more educators are growing their personal learning network or PLN through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social media tools. I encourage the teachers I work with to ease into the crazy world of social networking by using a simple three step approach. Find it, Organize it, and Share it.
- Find it: Use a small set of tools and strategies to sift through the virtual clutter and find the information you need. Let the tools do the work for you.
- Organize it: Make sure that once you find it, you can find it again. Organize your digital content by using a couple powerful tools. Don’t use too many. Find a few favorites that meet your needs and stick to them.
- Share it: In my opinion this step is optional but very powerful. There is no law that says you have to tweet just because you are on twitter. You can survive just fine by finding and organizing. However, sharing is how you begin to engage with the greater community and grow your PLN. But don’t worry, you don’t have to jump right into sharing. Take some time to get comfortable in the social space. Sharing can come later.
Over the next few posts, I’ll share with you how I find, organize, and share all of the information I hoard. Hopefully you’ll find a nugget or two of wisdom to help you make the most of your social network.
- The Teacher’s Guide to Social Media (mashable.com)
- Why Should Social Media Be Used in an Elementary Classrooms? (rmuttermckeon.wordpress.com)
- 3 Ways to Kickstart Your PLN this Summer! (indianajen.com)
- A Teacher’s Guide To Twitter (howtolearn.com)