By Michael Fricano
Social media has been such an integral part of my professional and personal growth. It’s my go to resource and it’s how I’ve been able to connect with so many amazing educators all over the world. Without Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, I don’t know where I’d be in life today.
That’s why I’m always advocating the use of social media to educators—it can play an integral role in developing your Professional Learning Networks. I’ve also presented on this topic in the past and I have uncovered five important benefits for using social media in your PLN:
- You’re able to connect and collaborate with peers from around the WORLD.
- You can easily find educators who are like-minded, working on the same project, facing the same challenge, or are able to answer your question(s).
- You have access to an overwhelming amount of resources and content—all at your fingertips, whenever you want it, whenever you need it. You decide what you want to use and how.
- You have a direct line of contact to businesses, companies, developers, researchers, experts, and owners. Better yet, they’re all willing to have discussions, answer your questions, solve your problems, and share their experiences with YOU.
- You get your own personalized professional development. You learn what you want at your own pace on your own time—and often times, for free!
One of my favorite social media networks is Google+. I find the sharing, connections, discussions, and relationships the richest and most rewarding here out of all the other social networks.
One of the greatest features of Google+ is the “Communities” that have formed around education. If you have a Google Apps account (whether personal or school issued, simply having a Gmail account gives you access), it’s really easy to get started with Google+ communities.
Google+ Communities are dedicated digital gathering places for like-minded people to connect with each other. Here are, what I consider seven of the best Google+ Communities for Educators. Here you’ll get new edtech tips, discover awesome apps, and learn about how you can become a better teacher.
The Google Classroom community is extremely active with more than 35,000 members from all over the world. It’s centered around Google for Education’s newest application called Google Classroom. It’s a great place to ask questions, seek help, and share resources and best practices!
If you’re a Google Apps for Education school, you’ll definitely want to join this community. It has almost 200,000 members, so you can imagine how active the community is. There are a lot of great categories to sort through, such as Administration, Devices, Trainings, and the various Google Apps, along with plenty of Certified Trainers and Certified Innovators sharing their resources.
Are you running into some issues with Google Apps in the classroom or have a particular question you’re dying to ask? Look no further than the Ask a Google Education Guru community. With 5,800 members, your question is bound to be answered within minutes.
Want to get the inside scoop on best practices for integrating technology in the classroom? Learn from more than 4,000 members in this community of EdTech integrators and coaches. There are always a lot of great resources being shared here for all things EdTech.
If you have iPads in your classroom, or will soon, you need to join the iPad Ed community! With a little less than 6,000 members and categories for every grade level, you’ll find the best app suggestions and strategies from tech-savvy educators.
Are you considering creating a Makerspace in your classroom or as a school club? (If not, you should!) The Maker Ed community was created by the people responsible for the Maker Ed Initiative at MakerEd.org. You’ll find educators and makerspace directors sharing a variety of resources, from projects ideas, to job opportunities, and other makerspace resources.
Calling all Chromebook users! Many schools are now purchasing Chromebooks as their classroom device of choice. If you teach in one of those classrooms, you need to join the Chromebook in Education community. There are a variety of great questions and resources being shared here that will help you uncover cool new ideas for your Chromebooks.
Let me know what other Google+ Communities you enjoy! Want to learn more about Google Apps for Education, Google Classroom, EdTech, MakerEd, and Chromebooks. Check out my website and blog at www.EdTechnocation.com.