From Lurker to Participant (or at least working on it)
Over the past week, I have worked to join a few more online communities. While I may not keep up interactions in all communities, I appreciated exploring some new groupings. I will have to decide over the long-term that will be most helpful as I learn and grow in my profession. While I was already a member of quite a few groups, I was surprised at the avenues there were new to me. Professional educators are very motivated in online communities.
Over the past week, I explored Google+ Communities, Pinterest, Classroom 2.0 and edConnectr (through Connected Educators).
For edConnectr, you have to sign-up and wait for verification. From there you fill out a fairly extensive profile, for the platform to match you with educators you can help and who can connect and assist you. When you have completed your profile, it shows you all of your “matches” with you being in the center. You can sort by job position and look between the quadrants: “My role”, “I can help with”, “Interests”, and “I would like help with”. You can also join groups within edConnectr. I joined the “Teaching with Tech” group. Unfortunately, it seems inactive as a post hasn’t been made since 2013. EdConnectr also suggests reaching out to individual people connections called “pins,” I have contacted a few, and I am waiting for a response. I did appreciate you could search by school district, of which I found one librarian in my district.
Prior to this assignment, I had never looked into Google+ Communities. Searching through the groups there are so many choices. I was careful to find groups there were more active than others. I joined four groups through Google+ communities, two of which were free to join and two others I had to wait for approval. My interactions through the Google+ Communities have been most beneficial. I have felt comfortable contributing and asking questions or seeking help. Members of these communities are quick to respond with suggestions or help. It has been amazing the resources people are willing to share with you.
Here are some interactions I have had with my Google+ Communities:
I had some educators offer some very helpful tips and advice almost immediately and I wanted to share the permalinks to those interactions as well.
A few years ago I was active on Pinterest, but it was mostly a place for me to pin recipes to try some evening down the line. Or I would pin the latest appetizer recipe that I hoped would not be another Pinterest fail. However, my experience with Pinterest lacked any sort of community interactions. Of course, I had “followed” friends boards, but we didn’t comment on each others. It was a way to pin, bookmark and collect, that was it. For this activity, I attempted get back on Pinterest to experiment with the networked community as an active participant. I followed some EdTech boards and found posts and resources I liked. I posted comments to educators posts and thanked them for the resources. I also tried to ask people a few questions, of which I received one response. I am happy that I experimented with Pinterest again. Will I rely on it for PLN in the future? Probably not, but there are good resources there if you don’t mind getting lost in the scroll!
The final online community that I joined was Classroom 2.0. This community is a place for educators who are interested in social media, classroom technology use and the Web 2.0 to interact and engage with one another. I definitely still have some exploring to do with this platform. There are groups and forums as well recordings, videos and guest speakers. I like that they have video and FAQ resources for educators who haven’t posted to forums before. Classroom 2.0 also has RSS feeds that you can utilize to stay on top of new blog or forum posts and comments. I will have to play around with he happy medium on how much of this I want notifications about. While I do use Feedly for RSS feeds, I need to decide how to organize my new online community notifications so that they don’t overwhelm, but become an asset to my PLN.