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In my first blog post on educators using social media I discussed the need to introduce its use in phases. The first phase was building interest. In that blog I stated:

“During this school year I have been tasked with a goal to explore, expose, encourage, engage and collaborate with staff in my school district through social media. For many, not just where I work, this concept is either a foreign one, misunderstood, or not seen as having educational value. This is not the fault of the educators who think this way. It is a byproduct of how social media is used outside of the educational realm…

So as I begin my goal I will use this blog forum to bring you along on the “social media ride”. Here I will discuss the steps taken, experiences, successes and failures. This will all be done in an effort to expose more educators to the benefits of social media and help others who are attempting a similar goal. All of this will be done in phases. Today’s blog is phase 1: Exposure.”

Over the last few months I’ve engaged the staff in Phase 1 by exposing them to Social Media and its potential. It was my goal to demonstrate how it can be used and not force it upon anyone. In the end my hope was to create some interest, no matter how small, in its use and potential in the educational realm. With Phase 1 complete it’s time to move on to Phase 2

In Phase 2, I plan to continue to expose educators to various forms of social media and encourage their use of it. The first step of phase 2 is to get educators on some form of social media. For me, my favorite is Twitter but I also use blogging sites, Facebook, UStream, and other forms of social media for informational items. So I have developed two trainings called Social Media 101 and Social Media 201.

Social Media 101 is designed for the person who has some interest but doesn’t know where or how to start. The class begins with an intro into social media, what it is, why it can be used for education and what are some examples of it. From there participants open up a Twitter account, fill in the profile, identify educators to follow and send out their first Tweet or two. In addition, several educational blogs will be used as examples and participants will work through a Google doc to create a blog to be posted on my site to show them the ease of blogging. Several blogging sites will then be shown as examples. I’m a firm believer that you pick what you are comfortable with using. If someone says, “You must use this” then walk away. The choice to use social media and what to use should always be up to the user.

Social Media 201 is designed for the person who has already engaged in some form of social media but would like to take it to the next level. This class begins with a discussion on how to engage other educators and students in social media, how it is a resource with endless information, and how participants can add to the value of social media. From that point a discussion and demonstration on forming chats on Twitter, groups on Google+ and using Edmodo will ensue. Examples of its use for educators and teachers will be presented and participants will work on developing their own use with colleagues and / or students. Participants will be encouraged to take what was learned in class and discuss with colleagues and try in the classroom.

Each of the above classes for Phase 2 is designed to further expose and encourage the use of social media by educators. My hope is more educators will find value in the use of social media the more we expose, demonstrate and encourage its use. Through this process I believe we will get to a tipping point in the use of social media for educators in which it is not a novelty but a constant and valuable reality.

What are you doing as an educational leader to expose and encourage other educators to use and learn from social media? Share your thoughts and ideas. Phase 3 – Engagement is next!