Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Transparency is the New Black
I've written about the importance web presence and transparency since I started this blog. (and I apologize for my early over use of ellipses & lack of the shift key!) Now, more than ever, education professionals must be visible and transparent in what they do and with their program and practice. It's easy to become overwhelmed with the thought of building a web presence from scratch -- but it's easy to fashion a fabulous functional digital footprint with a few easy pieces! Listed in priority order, ease of establishment & use, and the ever important commitment and difficulty factor! All my humble opinion, of course!
Now, before we start I gotta add that this is by NO MEANS a checklist of 8 social media things you have to do! No social media guilt from me or my blog dear friend! Consider it a dim sum dinner or perhaps an ala carte menu, grab one new tasty plate or two! ! Just try one of the 8 to see which you like best- and always I would say, start with a Wiki! Sure, lib guides and live binders are good - but for ease of use and day to day webby goodness nothing beats a wiki!
(Disclaimer: the daring librarian is a non-compensated spokesperson - she's just a wikispaces fan!)
Wikispaces are FREE for educators to easily create wikipages & connect with your students and community. Choose a Everyone can view pages, only wiki members can edit them. Add widgets, graphics, play with the look & feel to make it fit your personality & school!
I've blogged about Twitter so often for a reason. Until you feel the power of it by following EdTech leaders and subject specific chat's it's hard to believe how amazingly powerful it is!
There's a small learning curve to it, that's why I created a Twitter 101 Flickr Gallery for the newbie & visual learner!
Speaking of Flickr - I Love Me Some Flickr! Sure, I started with Smugmug in 2004 (and still have it) but Flickr has captured my heart - the ease of uploading, tagging, comments, sharing, the Creative Commons! AND, it's great for sharing digital images with students, parents, and colleagues! It rocks! I'm just worried that with Google buying Picnik & leaving Flickr now Yahoo might screw up its totally awesome creation. But nothing so awesome could just go away, right? (tries not to think of backflip & knocks on wood)
If you're a regular reader of this blog you know how I've had an on again - off again relationship with the Facebook. We're seeing other people right now and I've settled on Google+ but that nonwithstanding, I DO believe Facebook is where our kids & parents are so we should at least have a local page for our school with links to our main school website, office hours, phone numbers, and community announcements. To do this, I created a special Gmail addy account so that it can be passed on & to share with my Administrator and to not have it personally tied to me. It's like a Facebook surrogate! Keeps me there, but Facebook clean & no poking!
I'm on LinkedIn but I don't do much there - it's just another way parents, colleagues, and the world can find me and my main websites. It's like a funnel - it steers people to where you really are active! It's also like a cactus - it grows but you don't have to "water" it often!
YouTube has grown SO much since I joined in 2006 - now I have a full fledged channel! We also have one for our school - using the same email address we did our Facebook local page. YouTube has added really amazing new editing features and closed captioning tools AND has created the new YouTube EDU division - just for schools! For video uploading that won't get blocked also try SchoolTube!
My district is going Google next year and I am SO psyched! Of course, being a Google Certified Teacher I'm a big fan of all the amazing Google apps for Education! From Google forms, docs (Mmm the cloud!), spreadsheets, and now Play - there are SO many ways for educators to enhance and streamline their day to day life with Google!
Finally - to Blog or Not to blog? That is the question!
OK, first I'm sorry for that... but doggone it! Blogging is a struggle for sure! I would say only start blogging if you have a true burning desire & this posting with blog tips can help but it's a long term relationship - fraught with internal guilt. NOT for the faint of heart. I REALLY hate blogs with post after post that start with "I'm sorry I haven't blogged lately but (insert lame excuse here) but even *I* am struggling with the desire to explain why the whole month of March got away from me -without posting! (lame excuses: grieving, Maryland state standardized testing & bronchitis) SEE? I just broke my own rule! It's anguish! It's a pain! It's mostly self-created though - be strong if you blog! Blogging makes you also feel as exposed as walking down a catwalk in a bodysuit and takes a lot of nerve and determination. But, it's also very rewarding.
I mean, here I am, on my spring break sitting at the beach in Delaware and catching up on my blog?! (I have 3 posts in the works) I know, that's Cra Cra, right? So, why do I do it? Because I have a burning desire to share and connect with my PLN - that's you! Because it helps me remember what I did when & how I did it. The word Blog came from slurring together the term Web & Log - it's a log or diary of my days & teaching practice. I also blog because if I can help just one new teacher or librarian, or cheer up a discouraged one - then it's all worth it! I like being a perky effin Pollyana cheerleader for education & I like stirring the pot! I'm passionate about my profession & it's fun to share it! And I obviously like using an abundance of exclamation points!!! But I gotta tell you that I blogged for YEARS out into the aethernet silence - like writing to no one - but I kept at it. You don't blog for comments either! They are the gold nuggets of blogging - greatly desired but Oh so RARE! (by the way, thanks to everyone who ever left a comment! loveyoumeanit!) One more tip for blogging: Always use labels & keywords - I didn't for YEARS now it's a pain to find old posts & it helps with SEO! (Search Engine Optimization)
Basically, You have to blog for you. Because it's somehow satisfying - because you must.
What did I forget? What is your favourite way to connect with your students & community? What advice would you give to new educators to establishing a web presence? As always, dears - Take, Use, Share!
(view all the slides on my Flickr)
Here's the whole preso uploaded on my Slidesshre!
But it's not the same without my charmingly snarky delivery! Demand your conference planners to bring me to your venue! ;-) (shameless bit o baggage ain't I?)
See me in person!
And if you're attending the Baltimore Maryland Common Ground event, these slides are just a part of a pre-event workshop I'm presenting there along with my concurrent session on Thursday:
And here's our old rusty friend Sir Bolt, to tell us more about our ISTE affiliate event, Common Ground!
Resources & Credits:
201+ Social Media Links - Don't Hate the Hashtag!
Cybraryman's Educational Hashtags
Fashion Show Pics:
A huge thanks to Tug Wilson of the UK for his amazing shots of a fashion show at the Victorian & Albert Museum! See it in action with this amazing video!
Thank you, Tug for making these pictures Creative Commons & I've given you attribution on the bottom right of every slide.
Featured Font: Neutraface by House Industries a recent splurge to my graphic design desires