Using Google+ as a Personal Learning Network with your Students
I enjoy using social media. I use Facebook to keep up with friends and family who I do not see very often. I use Twitter and Google+ for professional development. Teachers can use social media to follow leaders in the field of education and educational technology as well as share ideas with others in their field without geographic restrictions. Using Google+ in the classroom is a great idea for a few reasons. Google+ has a communities feature so you can collaborate with others with the same interests. There are communities for almost any topic you can think of.
I have created my own community for my psychology classes. All of my students already have school Google accounts so I can limit the community to district accounts. To create a Google+ community for your class, just go to communities and click on YOURS in the bar in the top of the communities page as seen in the picture to the right. This will provide you with the Create a Community option. From there, you will be provided with a series of options to guide you through the process and help you create a community that meets your needs.
Students in my psychology classes use our class Google+ community to share things relevant to the course. The things they share can include study guides, news articles, and videos of interests among other things. Whereas some educators may be very familiar with the benefits of using a personal learning network, these benefits are a foreign concept to many students. The practice of having students maintain a personal learning network helps introduce students to the idea of using social networking for the sharing of ideas and information rather than for recreational reasons alone. More resources can be gathered collectively among a class than any teacher has on their own. Students often post items that I bookmark for use in future classes. In addition to the benefits outlined above, there are also the connections to the ISTE and Common Core Standards because of the collaboration and communication skills built through the effective use of social networks for personal and professional growth.
Do you use social networks in your classroom? Post your ideas in the comments below. Please subscribe to the blog and be sure to share this post with others. Follow me on Twitter @JoshuaElliott3 for more tips and ideas.