Making Connections with Educators Around the World

Hello!  I feel honored to have been asked to write a guest blog post for the Global Glitter Tribe about making connection with educators around the world.  My name is Angie Olson and I am the blogger behind Lucky Little Learners.  Those who know me know that I am passionate about connecting via social media with other amazing educators around the world.  I am here today to share with you some ways you can do this yourself!  I feel so strongly about the importance of connecting with others that I put together a presentation for my school district.  Here are some highlights about each social media platform to help you reach out and get connected today!

Are you on Twitter?  Twitter has been around since 2006.  Twitter is a great social media platform to connect with other educators.  I like to think of it as the world's most positive teacher's lounge!  It is also free and is available at your fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I like to think of it as microblogging and NO FLUFF professional development.  When I started, I didn't understand what the big deal was with Twitter.  I followed some suggested tweeters (a.k.a. Justin Beiber, Oprah, Ellen Degeneres) and away I went.  That was the problem...I didn't follow the right people!  Start there!  Build your tribe.  Search hashtags and follow the people that provide content.  Some of my favorite hashtags include #2getherwearebetter #happyclassrooms #youmatter  Speaking of hashtags, did you know there is a website out there devoted to all things educational hashtags?  Check it out!  It does start slow but builds quickly.  By the way, it is okay to lurk or creep around Twitter for awhile.  I did this for about six months and then decided it was time to move away from consuming and move towards producing.  That was when the followers really started to come!  Once you are up and running with Twitter, don't be afraid to join Twitter chats!  Here is a link to some education twitter chats.  Twitter chats are a great way to build you professional learning network (PLN).
Next up...INSTAGRAM!  Instagram was born in 2010.  Believe it or not, this is my FAVORITE social media platform because I am such a visual learner.  Instagram is blowing up with teachers over the last year and I can understand why!  Teachers love visuals.  Teachers love color.  Teachers love fonts.  Teachers love quotes.  Teachers love to be inspired.  Teachers love Instagram.
As an educator, I gain lesson plan ideas, book suggestions, anchor chart examples, school outfit ideas, but most importantly, I gain true, genuine friendships with other passionate educators.  These friendships extend past Instagram too!  After months and months of connecting with other teachers, you start to feel like you know them as a colleague or even friend.  If you're lucky, you may even arrange to meet up for the weekend for a shopping trip or conference!

You may not be on Twitter or Instagram but I feel like everybody and their mother is on Facebook.  This is probably the most popular social media platform because it's been around the longest.  Facebook was founded in 2004 and currently has 1.19 billion active users.  Wow!  Teachers really started to take over Facebook about six years ago and it continues to be a popular platform for sharing ideas and connecting with other educators.
My friend Emily Liscom from Education to the Core wrote a great blog post that provides a list of 15 teacher pages to follow on Facebook.  I would have to agree with her list, I follow them all!

Periscope, oh how I love thee!  Are you on Periscope?  Have you heard of it?  Periscope is a live streaming app and relatively new...coming out in spring of 2015.  When I first heard of Periscope, I watched a few broadcasts but didn't see the value in it for educators.  Then in June of 2015, I had an epiphany!  I knew I was going to be at the Teachers Pay Teacher conference in July of 2015 and thought it would be a great opportunity to go live with my bloggy friends and see what happens.  I shared my thoughts with my bloggy bestie Ashley from Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and the rest is history. Well, it wasn't that easy.  We did our research, followed some successful Periscopers, and wrote a couple of blog posts.  Those can be found by clicking on the images below.

Since July of 2015 the Periscope community has exploded!  I LOVE it!  Teachers are taking their art, craft, creativity, and talent and making Periscope their own.  Teachers are so generous to share their tips, knowledge, and classrooms with their viewers!  I also love the fact that Periscope is live video streaming that allows you to interact with other educators live.  If you haven't tried Periscope yet, you MUST try it!

Last but not least, BLAB!  Do you blab?  This social media platform is the newest platform that I know of today (September 11, 2015).  I feel like blab is an enhanced version of Periscope with a twist.  Blab is a live video streaming app.  Four people can chat in person on one screen while the rest of the viewers are contributing to the conversation via typed comments.  Teachers are just starting to get into this platform and occasionally you see advertisements for Teacher Blab Shows and such being shown on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  I can't wait to watch this platform evolve!

I hope that this blog post gave you a quick summary of how each social media platform works as well as the benefits.  My challenge to you would be to pick a platform and try it out.  Start small.  When you feel comfortable, try another one.  Don't limit yourself to the four walls of your classroom or school.  There are so many talented, passionate, positive, amazing educators out there that are ready to connect with you!  Push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Trust me, you'll be glad you did!

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