Remember when Pinterest was just for bookmarking recipes, Facebook for reconnecting with old friends, and Twitter for following your favorite celebrities? More and more, teachers are using social media as a professional outlet as well – useful for connecting with other educators, sharing ideas and promoting their own education-related side businesses.
Where to Start
With so many social media platforms at our fingertips, it may be difficult to know which one(s) to choose. The basic premise of all social media sites is to post, view and share content while interacting with other users. Although their purposes may be similar, I have found these popular social media sites best suited for the following uses:
Instagram: Post pictures and short clips of your classroom ideas, while browsing specific content via hashtags and following others who share your interests.
Facebook: Dialogue with other users by joining Facebook groups and sharing content – such as articles, videos and pictures – with your own personal network.
Twitter: Stay up-to-date on the latest trends and ideas in education by browsing and posting brief snippets of inspiration or information with others.
YouTube: Post and browse original videos, such as model lessons or video tutorials, which can be archived and viewed on your personal channel.
Pinterest: Browse, share and save visual images that can then be categorized in user-created “boards.”
Setting Up Your Account
Creating a social media presence is surprisingly simple. Many teachers opt to brand their social media pages with creative names and logos to distinguish their professional pages from their personal ones. After creating your account on the social media platform of your choice, search for other like-minded educators to follow or educator groups to join. The more teachers you follow, the more followers you will gain in return.
Teachers Follow Teachers
Students growing up in this day and age use social media like it’s their native language, but teachers can also find solidarity with other educators on social media. Popular hashtags such as #teachersfollowteachers and #iteachtoo are goldmines of inspirational quotes, classroom tours, and curricular inspiration from teachers all over the world.
Ready, Set, Post!
Next, it’s time to post! Upload related content such as videos, links to your favorite articles, photos, or your own custom images created on Adobe or PowerPoint. When posting pictures, keep in mind that privacy laws prohibit teachers from uploading students’ pictures without written approval from parents or guardians. To be safe, avoid using pictures in which students are present or easily recognized.
Social Media Safety
If you plan to build your professional network using social media, it’s important to do so cautiously and with safety in mind. Never post students’ photos or personal information without written parental consent, and be careful not to share sensitive personal or professional information via written content or images. Using a brand or alias protects yourself and your school from overexposure online. As a social media user, you have control over privacy settings, such as visible content and who is able to view your profile. Follow your school or district’s policies regarding interactions with parents and students on social media sites.
How have you used social media to enrich your teaching practice? What are your favorite hashtags or accounts to follow? Share your own Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook handle below!