Saturday, September 3, 2011

Guest Blogger! - We Social Network, Why Not "Social Work?"

My good friend, colleague and Middle School Principal, Joe Nguyen is a guest blogger for today. Enjoy!

We Social Network, Why Not “Social Work?”

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Goggle+ have become common words in our everyday vocabulary. Most of us make posting videos, pictures, comments, and indicating that we “like” that our friends have had dinner at a local restaurant on a regular basis. Facebook now has over 750 million active users, roughly twice the population of the U.S. The verbs “tweet, tag, and like” have taken new meaning since social networking sites have hit the scene. In addition to these social networking giants, did you know there are social networking sites for musicians, video game players, knitters, science researchers, churches, and just about any profession, vocation, and hobby? I recently commented to my wife this past summer, as we visited a few different churches in our town, “these churches integrate more technology than most of our schools.” But that is a topic for another article.

Since late this summer (hey, it’s still summer according to the calendar), I’ve been looking at different ways to engage students and staff at my school site in the art of “social working.” What if we could tap into the culture of social networking in what we do to research, plan lessons, teach, assess, do PD, and engage our students? I believe we would increase our efficiency and make the work we do more enjoyable too.

It doesn’t matter if your school uses comprehensive paid systems like Blackboard, School Loop, or the other solutions out there. Principals or teacher leaders can create groups, forums or discussion boards that function like social networking sites. What would be the result if your staff or district shared best practices, links, and resources for students, teachers, professional development, and tools for organizing schools at the same rate they “tweet, tag, and like” on social networking sites. Websites like Edmodo and Schoology offer free service to schools that look and function similarly to Facebook. Check them out.

I welcome your thoughts and ideas and see you in a “friends list” near you.

Joe Nguyen!/eastbayprof

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