Posted by: ketheredge | September 25, 2011

To Block or Not to Block?

PLN, I need your help.

The time has arrived; the conversations have finally begun.  My school has asked the question!  Do we continue to block social media in our school or do we open social media up to our faculty and our students?

It is an exciting time for me.  I have been using twitter for over three years now, and, during that time, I have learned a tremendous amount from my “tweeps.”  The connections I have made and the learning I have experienced benefits my students, my colleagues, and my school.  When I share new information with my colleagues and they ask, “Where did you find that?”  My reply is “twitter.”  When I am able to connect our 3rd graders with 3rd graders in Canada, I explain it is because of twitter. I have a long list of experiences that have only happened because of twitter.  For me, twitter is an invaluable resource.

I have also had a blog for two years, and, although I do not blog as frequently as I would like, I have always received positive feedback and support from my PLN.  When I do write, I connect with my PLN on a deeper level, and I receive support and feedback on topics that are important to me.  The support and feedback encourages me to never give up in what sometimes seems like a lonely journey of evangelizing the use of technology in innovative ways.

In short, I believe in the power of social media.  I know it can create a more dynamic learning environment, and I am excited to think that my colleagues may soon have the same opportunity.

Because of the resources I have found, some of my colleagues are curious; others are not interested at all.  Regardless of anyone’s interest, I have never been able to show my colleagues how twitter works or what a teacher could do with blogs because they are blocked by our filter system.  BUT, on Wednesday, at 2:15 p.m. CST I have the opportunity to demo twitter, hootsuite, wordpress, and any other social media resource that I can think to demo.  I am excited, but I am also nervous.  My thoughts swirl – “What if no one is online at that time?”  “What if I pose a question on #edchat and no one responds?”  “Will they believe that twitter can be a powerful learning resource? Or will they just think, ‘Here she goes again… getting excited about something else that we just don’t get.’?”

And, here, PLN, is where I need your help.  If you have the time and inclination, could you please be online Wednesday, September 28th from 2:15 to 3:00 p.m. CST?  For my international friends, that is 19:15 UTC time.  You can find the exact time for your location here.  PLN, you have always been extremely supportive; I have no doubt that your support will continue.  I know those of you who can make it will be online Wednesday to help me show my colleagues why our school should unblock social media.  Thank you in advance for your help!

See you Wednesday! 🙂

P.S., if you can’t be online Wednesday during my demo, why not comment on this post?  Share your thoughts on the power of social media.  If you utilize twitter and blogging in your classroom, how has it transformed your class and engaged your students?


  1. I may not be online at that time, but I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments about Twitter. I keep trying to convince colleagues and admins, but they think I’m nuts. Sigh…not giving up yet….

  2. Thanks, Tracy. Don’t give up! I can relate to your feelings, but I believe if we “keep the faith” and show others the connections and learning we gain from twitter and other social media they will eventually understand.

  3. I have never been able to really get into twitter myself. I have a twitter account and I occasionally read a few posts but I just don’t get it so much. Facebook has too much cruft on it. I have been enjoying google+ and I suspect that platform has a lot of potential for collaboration particularly with the hangout feature.

    I think that the exploration of the various social media platforms would be a good thing for the school and your colleges.


    • I use Twitter to connect with teachers
      around the world who share resources and ideas. When I’m able to connect regularly it is personalized professional development, which I love. Facebook for me has always been a personal place for me to share pictures events in my private life with my friends. (As of late, however, after the global forum, the mix of professional life connections on facebook has happened a bit…). I like google+. I agree the hangout capabilities affords potential for collaboration. I have found it hard to remember to post there as well as twitter so I can build those connections…

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