I use Social Media very rarely in my day to day teaching of 5 yr olds. I know there is potential to increase my usage, and I use on-line sources frequently, as well as posting on a Blog for communication purposes. So I have chosen to discuss Social Media Online Networks in my professional development instead.
The ways Social Media has been used to support my engagement in professional development.
Participating in the Mindlab course has had the most impact on my engagement and use of Social Media for my Professional Development.
In 2012 I was encouraged to join Twitter by my principal at the time as she had become a real convert. Before this I had joined Facebook in 2009 which led to joining two professional groups, NZ Teachers Primary and NZ Teachers and Leaders Catholic Schools which can be just sources of information but also opportunities for developing professionally and providing a forum to connect and discuss with other teachers. Becoming part of the Google plus community was also made available obviously when I joined Google email. All of these and others are available but as a resource I have not been fully engaged but only dipped in and out – played around on the fringes so-to-speak.
This year because it was a requirement I have learned a new Habit for my PD. I have become engaged in the Google Plus community and searched for and responded to others in our on-line learning quests. Also I have begun to use Twitter for my learning interests and I can see the Value and usefulness to me. These Social Media tools are more than a resource or source of information. But unless you actually personally try it out and have success then you will remain a fringe player.
Challenges that arise when I use social media for my professional development
In Melhuish (2013) thesis she uses Dwyer et al. (2009) evidence that states
‘…teachers will only embrace social network sites if there is evidence that they are effective, but the way they can enable knowledge transfer is currently not well understood…”
From my personal experience I believe this to be true. For me the challenges range from plain Ignorance of the resource and how to use it, through to a fear of sharing ideas in a public forum and being judged. Maybe this is not just me but a number of professionals as well?
Perhaps we all assume that this great resource is easily accessible when actually for a great number of reasons individuals don’t use Social Media for PD because they don’t know how – and they certainly don’t have any clue about the power of ‘knowledge transfer.’
How am I going to address the challenges?
To address my personal challenges I am so lucky to have had my previous Mindset -Dweck (2010) challenged by my involvement with Mindlab.
Actually, now I am going to take up the challenge of teaching and guiding my Colleagues to make use of Social Media sites such as Twitter to research for our PD Spirals of Inquiry but also deliberately begin investigating together how we as professionals can actually begin to use Social Media within our teaching and aim to embed this in our 2018 Teaching Practice.
Carol Dweck, 2010 What is Mindset?