Joining additional online communities was yet another huge step for me since I tend to be very cautious about my digital footprint. Wanting to join communities that would be of use to me, I researched many different types and then finally decided on four. Below are the four online communities I have joined and participated in:
LinkedIn – I was not quite sure what to expect with LinkedIn, but after familiarizing myself with the site, I can see the benefits of being a member. Being able to connect in a professional environment could lead to future employment if one is looking. I was surprised at how many people I have connected with from my previous career in the Navy. Although they are not teachers, we still have quite a lot in common and it is good to find out where they are professionally.
Edmodo – Edmodo appears to be a very popular community for teachers. Not only does it provide support and resources for teachers but it has a purpose in the classroom itself. I invited the entire teaching staff at the school where I teach to join and quickly received a reply from the first grade teacher. When I quizzed her about what she knew about Edmodo, the reply was nothing, “I only submit assignments on it for a class I am taking.” I was hoping I could get some feedback from someone in my building as to how they were using it in the classroom.
Google + – The number of resources and active conversations on Google + is amazing. It is very easy for me to get lost every time I log into Google + and the information is usually most helpful. The thing I find the most useful about this community is even though I may not be specifically looking for a resource, the things I have learned here are too numerous to list. Some of them are just trivial but others answer nagging questions I have had about simple things like how to use Google forms in the classroom, or how to get an image onto a LucidChart. This is possibly my favorite community.
Flickr – I like Flickr because I am often looking for just the right image and I am usually able to find I here. Posting on Flickr was interesting though. I thought that if I posted several photos they would show up as individual posts but everything I posted went to the same page. Digital images are so fun to work with and even though I do not have a camera, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the photos I uploaded. I chose several photos I use in an Idaho history lesson where the students select a photo, go to the site, research it, write about what they learned, and then we post it to the classroom blog.
After completing this assignment, I still have to remind myself to be a participant and not a lurker but I am getting better. Joining online communities that have a purpose to my job helps me to understand how powerful social media is. Before beginning to actively participate in online communities, I truly wondered what people saw in them. Needless to say, I have seen the light!