Monday, August 22, 2011

Facebook Locally, Tweet Globally!

It's Sunday evening and like me, teachers everywhere are working on lesson plans and preparing materials for the upcoming week. As I reflected on my first two weeks with 1st graders I realized that I need to tighten up my literacy block - I had too much transition and lag time between activities as well as not enough movement for restless 1st graders.

In the process of reflecting and planning for the upcoming week, I sent out a Tweet asking for opinions on what I felt was slow progress in our Read to Self block. Immediately (like within 2 minutes!!) I received super helpful feedback from @qldteacher in Australia as well as from @MsHoughton in Seattle. Both were encouraging and informative. I tweeted back and forth with @qldteacher for a few minutes and she reassured me that her experiences had been similar with her first graders in Australia.

After sharing information with my Tweeps, it hit me how wondrous it is that when I have a question any time of day about anything I can simply ask and, more often than not, get immediate help and encouragement from a real person. Seriously amazing!!

In response to people who are resistant to the idea of using Facebook and Twitter, I offer this metaphor. Think about your kitchen. You probably have a spatula and a whisk. You could use these items for some of the same tasks - there's a little overlap in their usefulness. However, you wouldn't flip burgers with a whisk and you wouldn't beat eggs with a spatula. Facebook and Twitter can be used in similar ways, just as spatulas and whisks can be used for some of the same jobs.

Personally, I use Facebook for keeping up with people I know in the flesh. These are my close friends and relatives. These are the people whose vacation pictures I'd take a minute to look through and care about seeing how much little so-and-so has grown. I also have a group for former students so that I can continue to reach out to them even after they've left my classroom.

I use Twitter to know what's happening in the world. It's more of a professional learning network as demonstrated in my situation today. I follow a wide array of people on Twitter, although a majority of them are in education.

(Another striking difference is that when you're home sick for a day, Facebook is pretty boring because all those people that I'm friends with are at work like I normally would be. Twitter is still a happening place though! I've got friends in my Twitterverse from all over the country and several from other parts of the globe.)

I urge you to consider using both. What about you? Are you involved in more than one social network? Feel free to share your amazing experiences and uses in the comments!

My philosophy is: Facebook locally, Tweet globally!

PS: A huge "THANK YOU" to @qldteacher & @MsHoughton. If you don't follow them on Twitter, please do so now! :)

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