Jan 31, 2011

Part I - IMEA Recap: Using Facebook for Professional Development

At the 2011 Illinois Music Educator's Association Conference in Peoria, Kyle Freesen (@kfreesen) and I were privileged to present to a group of music teachers about using social networking to create their own professional development.  This is the first of a three part series from our session.

Facebook Recap:

Something amazing has happened!  With the advent of social networking, professional development has come to each teacher's doorstep and all that is needed is an internet connection and an attitude to embrace social networking.  Facebook is one of the most popular social networks in the world.  There are over 500 billion users!  If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest.  So many people use Facebook on a daily basis, that it seems only natural to use it as a professional development tool.  At our IMEA session, 80% of the respondents were already Facebook users, 17% use Twitter, and 3% actively read or write blogs.  But, is social media a fad?  You decide.

A PLN (Professional Learning Network) is a system of people & resources (colleagues, written media, online media, classes, institute days, conferences, etc.) that is used to further an educator's professional development.  It is currently being fueled at light speed by social networking.      
WHY - 
Although we can learn new things from taking a class, it is more practical and even more valuable when we are able to collaborate with our colleagues.  Social networking allows us to collaborate with teachers at anytime and on a global scale.  Kyle and I have been able to connect with music teachers not only from across the U.S., but from Australia, Canada, and the UK.
HOW - 
PLNing is Connecting, Collaborating, Contributing with other music teachers. Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging are FREE tools that any willing music educator can use to further their own knowledge.

What's New?
Facebook's recent update of it's Groups now allows easier collaboration for all users.  Members of groups can receive automatic updates when new posts & comments are made.  A common misconception for novice Facebook users is that a person has to "friend" someone in order to make comments.  Not true!  Facebook allows all members of it's Groups to interact without having to "friend" another group member.  Among other improvements are Group Chat and Docs.  For an overview of the Groups features, see this video.

Great collaboration is on Facebook - Join a group!
Also see the Educator's Guide to Using Facebook for great tips on developing your PLN

Coming Soon!  Part II - For Music Educator's:  Using Twitter for Professional Development

1 comment:

  1. I was at this session. It was great! I'm looking forward to your next installment on the blog. I'd like to participate in the Twitter convo on Monday night, but not sure I understood how to participate.