Where do I begin with social networking… I have had a Facebook account since 2006. This was when you had to have a college email to have an account. I found it to be a great way for two way communication about school work and by using groups for collaboration. When Edmodo was introduced for education, I jumped on the bandwagon early on. Here was a great safe way for two way communication for my students about class work. A blog or web site did not allow this instant communication or networking for my classes. I have used Edmodo as a way to differentiation assignments for students, create assignments for grading, and load classroom content and homework for easy student access. My students have been able to communicate with their whole class and myself about class work. There are so many wonderful apps built into Edmodo which allow enrichment to our students. Edmodo just launched a new version with quizzes as part of the software. And there is an app for that!! Some student who do not have access to a computer or the internet at home, many of them have smart phones and allows them to access the content from their phones. Along with all of the other amazing uses for my students, Edmodo has become a networking site for me with teachers who teach the same content. There is a group for just 7th grade Social Studies teachers in Georgia. I have also created a technology group for my school. I post a different technology tool for teachers each day. I have also folders which included information about different TKES information and school procedures.
I am slowly making my way into the world of Google; however I have learned to not have all of my eggs in one basket. I have not used Google docs in my classroom because I tend to have my students create something other than word or PowerPoint documents. However, our school staff does use Google documents in various ways. As part of our professional learning communities, each of our grade levels has a Google Doc create to enter student concerns and celebrations. We then use this data each week to discuss students with concerns. This allows us to have document of this data already complete at the end of the year. I recently created a Google Doc for our school to use in our Instructional Rounds. We are assigned different classrooms to go observe as part of preparation for different TKES criteria. Instead of writing the observation form, the teachers were able to complete the Google doc using their iPad while in the classroom they were observing. The use of Google docs in professional use has allowed our teachers to have better practices working collaboratively. I am sure there are great uses in the classroom, but I have not had the need yet.
Being a social studies teacher, pictures and other forms of media play an important part of instruction. Many times these images are incorporated into lecture in a PowerPoint. I upload these lectures to my class Edmodo groups for students to have access to these files. I have also uploaded class lectures and videos on to websites for substitute to be able to go over the same material I would if I was in the classroom.
A site such as Slide Share allows teachers to share videos and presentations. But also teachers can search for content which could boost their own instruction. This site includes tags for teachers to search.
Social Networking, Google and presentation sharing sites allow us and our students to work in a more collaborative network.