|Thankful for my network (Photo credit: krossbow)|
Three years ago when I began my adventure on Twitter, I was amazed at how I could find such value added professional development at my fingertips. Having blogged for a few years as a teacher librarian for a distance learning school, I realized that having VOICE was something that resonated deeply within me, and many of my colleagues and students. I had taught my students about academic authority, sharing ones passion and reflecting accuracy and currency (all those lovely teacher librarianship question's). But now the crunch was up! Could I role model that myself? Could I learn all these weird and wonderful hashtags, how would I engage in virtual chats, and could I make friends with strangers?
Three years later I am loving the ENGAGEMENT! Discovering curation and sharing on Scoopit, Twitter, and other social networks like Ning, has widened my knowledge base, helped me research pertinent scholarly articles, archive for my patrons, and also help me make friends. One of these friends and fellow teacher librarian from England Elizabeth Hutchinson collaborated via blog and virtual classroom with our campus and distance learning grade 6/7 students, on Chocolate Lily and Kate Greenaway children's' books. We hoped our students would imbibe cultural sensitivities and global awareness as they studied the language similarities and differences between England and Canada. We laughed at our accents, shared our silly phrases, and reached out to connect on a heart level around picture books.
On our Ning (a private social network within our distance learning school) we teach digital citizenship skills, such as media sharing, blogging, discuss issues such as cyber bullying, collaborate in online book clubs and participate in events such as our Innovator's Challenge. We trust and value our relationship within this private and safe community.
So what I hope to share from this conversation is how we can have virtual relationships using social media. I was in a library advocacy workshop recently, and I heard the presenter share that social media is not a place for advocacy. I would strongly disagree! Enjoying ten years as a virtual teacher librarian... this is my world and most of my students' world.
I do believe that we are called to reach out, love, respect and accept one another regardless of our background. As Gust Mees @KnolInfos my Twitter friend shared we thought it would be pertinent to create a multilingual social media dictionary for other educators to share their thoughts on the positive and community forming bases for social media. We can do that in 30 words or in 3 characters. The choice of words we use can either build up or bring down. It would be cognizant of different languages, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Thankfully on Twitter I have seen mostly positive encouragement! I have also seen poetry in reduction. As a wordsmith in hiding I LOVE it! We welcome your thoughts! Thanks Gust Mees@KnolInfos for starting a blog to collaborate on such thoughts!