Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Discovery of Social Media

I retired from teaching two years ago. I thought I had kept up on all the latest trends. We used lots of computer technology. We had grading programs that automatically fed updated scores to the registrar. Emails were used to keep in touch with parents. Software that matched our textbooks allowed us to print tests, quizzes, and worksheets quickly. Personal websites gave us a place to post grades, assignments, notes, and links for students and parents.

We used calculators with amazing capabilities. Type in an equation and get a graph. Put the graph on the computer and poof...into a worksheet it went.

This last summer I discovered Twitter. At first I just used it to post notes to a few friends. Then I discovered I could follow newspapers, celebrities, and people from all over the world. I asked my sister-in-law if she used Twitter. She said that she didn't, but was on Facebook. It helped her keep in touch with her kids. I had heard of MySpace and Facebook, but didn't think it was for me...until I heard she was on it. I signed up and immediately discovered most of my friends, former co-workers, and high school classmates were already there. What fun!

From there I discovered blogs. I started reading everyone else's blog. My step sister writes a blog about music. A classmate writes a blog about South Africa. I found blogs about every subject I'm interested in.

About this time my mother and I saw the movie "Julie and Julia." "Julie" wrote a blog about making recipes from Julia Child's book. I thought, "I can do that." But I wasn't sure what I would write about. The only thing I really knew a lot about was teaching, so I did some research to find out how to set up a blog and post to it. I started using Twitter to encourage people to read my blog. I'm having some mild success and hopefully, with time, more people will be interested in it.

Now I've been thinking about all the social media websites and how they could be used by teachers, students, and parents. For the next few days I plan to research and write about a few of the social media sites and how they can be used in education. Below is a chart of many of those sites.

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