- Connect with other educators online by going to the profile of those you admire, reviewing who interacted with particular posts in your feed, and using hashtags.
- Becoming a connected educator by choosing to interact with others online can broaden your perspective on all things education.
If you’re anything like me, you appreciate finding a like-minded educator who has similar values to your own. Earlier in my career, my connections were limited to those in my own building. While there was nothing wrong with that, I was not getting other perspectives from those teaching other ages, at other physical locations, or those who teach students with a different demographic makeup.
I was at a conference my first year of teaching and started a “Teacher Twitter” account. I didn’t use it much except for that day to follow my presenters and tweet about the conference, and then after that day, my account sat dormant. A couple of years later, I started to hear of some of my colleagues getting these amazing ideas from others on Twitter? What?! You can get lesson ideas from other educators on TWITTER? I thought Teachers Pay Teachers or Pinterest were the only places where educators shared their voice and ideas, but boy, I was wrong.
I would like to reflect on some ways to make connections with others online, which in turn, can lead to discovering new ideas you can implement in your own setting.
It was once I started following and connecting with other educators that my perspective started to change—for the better. There are so many ways you can find other educators to connect with through social media.Remember, you don’t always have to just follow people who are the same as you. Sometimes it’s productive to engage in conversations with others who will challenge your thinking too! Click To Tweet
Tip #1 to Connect Online: Go to the profile of educators you admire and see who they are following!
Some of my favorite people to do this with are Jeff Gargas, Rae Hughart, and Dave Schmittou. I simply go to their profile, click who they are following—who they have chosen to connect with—and follow people from there. Often, their bio will give you an indication of who that person is and what they do in education.
This helps to fill my timeline with tweets that I can continue to learn and grow from. I know Twitter has some fancy algorithm for deciding which tweets show up on your timeline, so I make it a point to interact with others whose posts show up on my feed.
(Note: If you are looking to up your own game on social media, check out the Using Social Media to Grow Your Network course in the Teach Better Academy!)[scroll down to keep reading]
Tip #2 to Connect Online: When you see a tweet you resonate with, check out who ‘liked’ it or commented on it!
When I see a tweet about reading or writing (two of my top passions), I love checking out who interacted with the post, as I usually can become more connected with librarians or other ELA educators. As I use Twitter more and continue connecting with people who bring value to my feed, it’s almost exponential…similar people continue to show up in my feed and in the section where Twitter suggests accounts to follow.
Tip #3 to Connect Online: Use #hashtags.
When you see a hashtag you like (or even use one yourself), don’t forget to click on it to see what else other people are saying about that topic.
And remember, you don’t always have to just follow people who are the same as you. Sometimes it’s productive to engage in conversations with others who will challenge your thinking too!
In all, there is a lot we can learn from educators outside of our direct spaces. I can tell you, I’ve done some of my best growing as an educator over the last year by connecting with others online who are in different locations, teach different levels or subjects, or have a different demographic of students.
Becoming a #connectededucator changed my world as I knew it, and I wouldn’t go back for anything.
Who are some of your favorite people to follow? Share this post and tag me with your favorites using the hashtags #TeachBetter #TBBlogger!
About Kari Pitstick
Kari Pitstick is a 7th grade English Language Arts teacher and track & field coach in Illinois. She’s also the Director of Digital Content for the Teach Better Team. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s in Middle Level Education, and American College of Education in 2018 with a master’s in Curriculum & Instruction.
She knew she wanted to teach at the middle level since she was in middle school herself. One of her main missions is to provide a safe and friendly environment for students to explore their passions as learners and as people.
Kari is an avid reader, spending most of her free time reading and writing, and she hopes to share that passion with all those around her—students and adults, alike!