Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Wave of the Future

First off, I have a question: How many other student edubloggers are out there? I'm not aware of any, although I am sure there are some. (Feel free to comment and let me know about others!)

Now, here's another question that, to me, seems to be somewhat connected: What will happen to the idea of a PLN for teachers in the future?

I ask this not out of pessimism, but out of simple curiosity. After all, the majority of teachers (in my district at least) are old enough to have been actively teaching in the days before Twitter and Facebook became key tools for certain educators. (I'm going to focus on Twitter and Facebook because they are the two services I have observed being used by teachers for teachers most often.) But as my generation grows older and moves into the workforce--and yes, some of us will take up teaching--we will have been using these services for our own personal purposes instead of professional ones.

Of course, I don't feel that anything's wrong with this. This is what those services were originally developed for, after all. I myself first joined Facebook to maintain contact with my various friends across the globe. But because I already have this use for it, will I be able to use it in the future for professional purposes?

There are workarounds to this. First off, one can make two separate Facebook pages, and I really doubt that many people will mind seeing the occasional personal tweet. I know at least one teacher who has taken this course. But this simply leads to more confusion as to which "Michael Rees" is the one that is actually being sought.

Then, of course, it's wrong to assume that all incoming teachers will already be active on these two services. I know one first-year teacher our district gained this year (who, by the way, is fantastic!) who made a Facebook page to get messages out to his students. (Now, this leads into what the relationship between students and teachers should really be and other ethical issues, but if you really feel compelled to discuss those, there's a comment form for a reason.)

I guess that what I'm really saying is that I'm uncertain what the future here will really look like. Because our teachers of the future are growing up with their own uses for things such as blogging (!), will new services for the purpose that ideas such as #edchat has taken?

It will certainly be interesting to find out. 

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