Last November there was a buzz about Facebook’s rumored product Facebook at work.
How about ‘Facebook at School’. We don’t know if behind closed doors they are developing one. But that would really be cool. There can be variations to this kind of argument. But times certainly require today’s teachers to network.
The whole world is on Facebook today – the social networking site recorded a whopping 1.35 billion monthly active users as on December 28, 2014 according to stats released by Facebook recently. But the question to ask is: are you using your social media time to the best of its potential for your professional progress? If not, here are the reasons you must!
Here are 5 reasons why educators should network:
- Encourage interchange of ideas, reach more students
A clear advantage of social networking is to reach far and wide and draw out students from even the remotest corners of the world – students who need teachers like you. And since networking is seen as a less intimidating form of contact as compared to face-to-face interaction, it often helps teachers to extract more from their learners, who may otherwise be shy and reticent in a traditional classroom set up.
For instance: Teachers can create online groups on Facebook or G+ (closed or private) and use the simple ‘share and invite’ technique to widen their reach globally.
- Build connections to learn with others
Every teacher is a learner himself. Teachers cannot know everything and networking with other teachers can help them fill the gaps in their knowledge and promote learning from one another via observation, sharing, imitation, and modeling. By creating learning networks, teachers can use them as support groups to vent, reach out to others and trade ideas.
Almost every social media platform provides the ‘polling’ feature to support the aforementioned statement.
- Create an authority in your field
Networking allows you to establish an authority in your field of expertise. Peers and students are the best judge of your work. Sharing your latest research finding or teaching resource online builds credibility for yourself in your network. Networking also helps you put the flipped classroom model into practice. Teachers can put resources online for students to use – like videos, documents, audio podcasts or interactive images. This kind act of sharing can go a long way in your online teaching career. More and more students flock to take your course and choose you over other instructors. What better can you wish for!
- To access a dynamic, bottomless reservoir of resources
Textbooks are passe. Knowledge is now leaping out of World Wide Web and going viral on social networking platforms like Twitter, MySpace, Linkedin, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Slideshare, LinkedIn, Skype, Nings, Wikis and blogs. Teachers need to embrace this new mode of learning and put their resources online for students to consume and share further among their network.
With just a click of a mouse, teachers too are globally connected with a gamut of people who can share resources, ideas, lessons, knowledge with you which expands constantly. It gives educators the chance to learn from people not just in their own field, but from all walks of life.
- To stay engaged in education
21st century learners have to be one of us, sharing their everyday success and struggle. They are on our Facebook friends list, a connection on LinkedIn, a follower on Twitter and many more. Networking helps make teacher ‘real’ to the student and student ‘real’ to the teacher. The relationships built through networking enriches the students as well as teachers. That means, better learning outcomes for students and emotional satisfaction amongst teachers.
While networking is a boon to educators the world over, it is not controlled by any formal protocol. Networking can be done formally or informally—and can entail anything from chats on a public forum, to membership of various teachers’ blogs. Exploring various options is definitely well worth the effort if you want to be a teacher par excellence.
So, don’t shy away from exploring. Use the technology of today, in the classroom today!