When I first started teaching, the only professional development I could get was from reading books, attending conferences or from my local school board. The internet has drastically changed the way people can access information. Now I can obtain professional development on my own time, and from home!
Social media sites are a great place to look for new ideas and current education trends. I have outlined below how teachers can use a few different social media sites to enhance their teaching practice.
Many teaching blogs have Facebook Pages that you can follow. These teachers share content related to their audience i.e Math bloggers share math ideas. Even better than Facebook Pages are Facebook Groups. These groups are usually created around a grade level or subject area. Within these groups is a wealth of knowledge and resources from other educators. If you teach Grades 6 to 12 English Language Arts please join the #2ndaryELA Facebook Group. This growing group has over 3000 members who share their ideas and resources daily. Follow 2 Peas and a Dog on Facebook.
Many teachers write quality blogs these days. They are a great source of inspiration and new ideas for teachers to use in their own classrooms. You can find a variety of blogs in the Education category on Bloglovin‘. Bloglovin’ is a website that allows you to find and read blogs in a variety of categories. I use it to follow my favourite blogs and get email notifications when they write a new post. Another great place to look for teaching blogs is the Middle School Blog Log. Blogs are categorized by subject area. This is a good starting place to find your favourite teacher blogs. Follow 2 Peas and a Dog on Bloglovin’.
Instagram is full of wonderful photos straight from the classrooms of real teachers around the world. To find these great teachers you will need to use the search bar and enter in specific popular hashtags. The next time you are on Instagram look at these hashtags: #2ndaryELA, #iteachtoo, #iteach678, #teachers, #teachersfollowteachers, #teachersofinstagram, #teachersofig. Once you find images you like click on the poster’s name and follow their account. I love scrolling through my feed when I have a few minutes to call my own. Instagram is a more informal social media site than others. Teachers often post photos of their daily life. It is great to see so many teachers sharing common interests in food, books, and pets. Don’t forget to like posts and leave comments on images that spark ideas. Check out this great blog post about reasons to use Instagram. Follow 2 Peas and a Dog on Instagram.
Pinterest is an amazing resource for any educator. It is a visual search engine for ideas. You can use Pinterest in two ways: follow teachers whose accounts match your teaching areas, and by using the search bar to find specific ideas for your lessons. When you follow a Pinterest account, some of their pins will show up in your feed. It also helps Pinterest know what your interests are so they can personalize your feed. Using the search bar at the top of the page is great for finding lesson specific ideas. Try different search terms to help you find exactly what you need. Once you find great pins and ideas ensure to pin these ideas to your boards so you can easily find them in the future. Follow 2 Peas and a Dog on Pinterest.
Twitter is a great place to stay current with education news and ideas. Start by searching for popular education hashtags related to your subject areas. Then look at the content people are Tweeting about. If you enjoy the content of those Tweeters, then follow their accounts. Another great way to interact with teachers on Twitter is through taking part in a Twitter chat. Many different Twitter chats run weekly and are usually open to new participants. New to Twitter chats? Check out this quick video to see how easy they are to use. If you think a Tweet is interesting you can hit the Retweet button, and it will get sent out on your personal Twitter feed. Every Tuesday night, July through May join the #2ndaryELA Twitter chat from 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm EST. The next time you are on Twitter look at these hashtags to find great content and professional learning: #2ndaryELA, #edchat #educhat, #ntchat, #teacheredchat, #elemchat, #spedchat, #DI4ALL, #GoogleEdu, #edtech, #21stedchat. This blog post has a great Twitter chat organizer to help you keep track of your chats. Follow 2 Peas and a Dog on Twitter.
Additional Professional Development Resources
- Read the summary post from a #2ndaryELA Twitter chat about this topic
- Don’t forget about YouTube channels and playlists. Check out the Created For Learning channel
- I love listening to podcasts during my daily commute. Check out The Cult of Pedagogy and The Cornerstone For Teachers. I use an app on my phone to listen to podcasts. Apps are available in both the Apple App Store and the Android Play Market. Check out this list of 12 great educational podcasts.
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