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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Global Teacher Networking

There are so many opportunities out there to connect with fellow educators online and collaborate all across the world. As a teacher, we are often surrounded by colleagues that are terrific team members and committed to supporting each other. But sometimes the answers we seek and the ideas we need don't come from within our school walls. Online social networking sites offer teachers a chance to make connections with like-minded professionals, in order to further teaching practice and share resources.

There are many platforms out there to link with other teachers, it is simply a matter of choosing one (or several) and investing the time to learn about that site's features and possibilities. I am currently a member of LinkedIn, Curriculum 21, Facebook, and Twitter as an educator and I have contacts and an online profile that allows other educators to connect with me.

For the online writing component that I am currently undertaking, there are countless ways to network with people and build your "brand." Improving your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be done with any number of strategies and tips including; keyword placement, subscribing blog directories, writing guest blogs and comments to the posts of others, and online discussion forums. As you can see from the badges down the sides of this blog site, I belong to a number of blog directories that have catalogued "Ignite. Incite. Inspire." as a blog that users can stumble across or have it suggested to them as 'like' another blog.

I am adding this "blogging" paragraph to this post, as I see huge potential in blogging with our students as class writing. Providing online feedback and increasing global readership from student-to-student is one of the current ways that we can hook reluctant writers and engage our classes in meaningful discussions with peers from around the globe. As soon as school districts are able to hammer down current, reflective and sound online privacy and digital citizenship policies, this forum for writing will explode on the scene as the next lined paper notes.

Overall, teachers are busy and time is always in demand. In order to facilitate discussions with global colleagues and seek out advice about pedagogy and teaching strategies, it will take time, and therefore, commitment. However, so far I have been able to connect with curriculum developers, private educational businesses, psychologists, former principals and superintendants, radio personalities, authors and of course, current teachers. This online networking experience has (and will continue to) allow me to seek out "cutting-edge" ideas and consider revolutionary practices that will help to further my own teaching or help to lead others in changing how we reach students and find that "carrot" that will drive their learning (a reference to one of my first blog posts "The Carrot."

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