Every month, more than 230 million people log onto the social media site known as Twitter. According to the company’s website, 500 million tweets are sent every day.
And a growing number of those messages are being sent by teachers and educators. Many are using social media as a way to learn from their educational peers.
“Social media’s not just for sharing what you’re doing,” said Stacy Hawthorne, a Educational Strategist with Evergeen Education Group, said recently on WCPN’s daily call-in show The Sound of Ideas. “It’s for opening that dialogue to get feedback on what your ideas are or how to improve those and that’s when you really find the value in it.”
Joe Clark, another guest on the show and the superintendent of Nordonia City Hills School District, said he frequently uses his social media outlets to connect with educators.
“We have great discussions,” he said, adding that social media offers a “24/7 free professional development” outlet.
Many educators have connected during a weekly online chat for Ohio educators called #OhEdChat. Some have even connected at tweetups, which offers a chance for people who’ve been chatting about similar interests online to meet in real time to continue their chats face-to-face.
But social media also offers a way for teachers–and everyone– to overshare too much. An Akron teacher was placed on unpaid lead after posting a racial rant on his Facebook page, and a Zainesville teacher resigned after he was accused of writing inappropriate Twitter and Facebook comments while at work.
Hawthorne said that there’s a general rule that social media users should keep in mind while posting.
“Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, if you don’t think Grandma should be sitting there watching you do it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it,” she explained.
You can listen to the Sound of Idea’s entire discussion about teachers and social media here.