Friday, September 13, 2013

Making Soup with Sites, Blogs, and Social Media

We are all still learning how Google Apps for Education (GAFE) can allow us to communicate and collaborate more effectively throughout RRISD.  Below are some thoughts on why and when to use each of these distinct tools and how they work as a team. Plus a tasty ending.

Web Site (Google Site, Sharp School Site, etc.) 

  • Stable and Consistent
  • Calendar
  • Directory
Everyone needs a web site. Think of your web site as your consistent home where your students, teachers, parents, or customers can always count on getting what they need. A web site does not change much structurally on a daily basis. If you have a page on your site where you upload homework, then your students/parents need to know that they always need to look in the same spot on your site for homework.

Blog (Blogger, Edublogs, etc.) 

  • Your voice
  • Easily updated
  • Get your message across
Everyone should have a blog. Your blog is your voice and the voice of your web site. There may be stable elements around the blog, but the purpose of the blog is to give updates, explain an upcoming initiative or tool like Atomic Learning, or share celebrations. A blog can be linked from or embedded in your web site.

Social Media Platform (Google+, Twitter, etc.) 

  • Fluid Environment
  • Get people talking about your idea, assessment, or project
  • Grow your Personal Learning Network (PLN)
Everyone should learn how to incorporate social media. Social media platforms like Google+ allow those you are communicating with to communicate directly with you and each other. Don't use a Google+ Community or Twitter account as your only space to post department or campus documents, but post those documents there if you want others to be able to comment or ask questions about those documents. Social media also allows you to expand your Professional Learning Network (PLN). Click here for more information on how to use Twitter as an educator.

It's Like Making Soup

Think of these three tools as a hearty soup. Your web site is your cast-iron pot. If you don't have a pot, you might as well give up right then. But if all you have is a pot, at least you have somewhere sturdy to keep your stuff. Your blog is all the ingredients you have foraged. You chose which vegetables to pick from your garden and those carrots and beets taste pretty good on their own, but why have a pot if you are not going to bring your ingredients together. So social media is the broth. It lets the carrot talk to the beet and together they create a big bowl of nourishing goodness, mmmmmm.


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