Tag Archives: social media

LinkedIn Isn’t the Yellow Pages: How teachers can use it as a PLN

Guest post by Luz Chavez

LinkedIn has the potential to be Facebook for professionals if more people would stop using it like the yellow pages. It’s not enough to be listed. To maximize it as a PLN, you need to connect, contribute, and engage.


Connecting on LinkedIn is like exchanging business cards. Beyond connecting with colleagues, expand your digital rolodex by connecting with:

LinkedIn network

Your Home page shows your connections at a glance

  • LinkedIn group members: Once you join a group, you’ll notice who sticks out above the rest. They’re the ones who consistently share valuable insight and news.
  • Presenters: Experts who impressed you at conferences are likely to provide some of the most insightful posts on your feed.
  • Teachers at other schools: Did you exchange war stories with a teacher at a seminar? Stay connected on LinkedIn

    LinkedIn notes

    Click a connection and add notes to remind your how you met.

  • Strangers with similar interests. Don’t be afraid to connect with someone you don’t know. If you use your common sense, the connection can be fruitful.

    LinkedIn connections

    Click a connection to see how many connections you have in common.

• Familiarity: How many mutual connections do we have?

• Influence: Does the person have hundreds of connections or Twitter followers?

• Legitimacy: How well-known is the person’s place of employment?

Also, LinkedIn allows you to:

  • Follow companies, such as education organizations, professional development groups, and school districts.
  • Follow channels in Pulse, your very own personalized newspaper in LinkedIn.LinkedIn pulse
  • Join a group. There are tons of LinkedIn groups for educators that allow you to engage in discussions with fellow educators. Use specific search terms to find the perfect group for you.LinkedIn groups


What you share defines who you are, so choose wisely and keep it professional. Share:

  • lesson plans that worked well
  • new apps or websites you are using with your students
  • resources that worked (or didn’t)
  • questions or requests for information (“Can anyone recommend a great bilingual ebook for third graders?”)
  • important or breaking education news

Choose a level of engagement (either posting a few times a day or a couple of times a week) and be consistent. That way you avoid falling off people’s radar. 


  • Comment! In order to learn, you need to put yourself out there. Comment on posts and participate in group discussions. You’ll learn a lot more than if you sit back and watch others craft and exchange ideas.
  • Endorse. Is your colleague an expert in troubleshooting tech issues at your school? Show your appreciation and let the world know with a quick click of a button.
  • Recommend. Is there a colleague who’s the go-to person for formative assessment tips? Recommend her. It doesn’t have to be long. Three sincere and specific sentences suffice.

Still want to be a lurker?

Then LinkedIn can be your personalized professional library, where you get the latest news from the companies, people, and groups you connect with.

Stay tuned for the next part in this PLN series: Getting the Most Out of Twitter!

Luz Chavez is a consultant for Green Light Professional Development.

A Beginner’s Guide to Edtech Terms

by Hope Morley

Edtech terms word cloud

Every community has its own language, and educational technology is no exception. If you’re new to the edtech world, it can be overwhelming and confusing. This beginner’s guide can help you understand popular edtech terms you’ll see in articles and on social media.


PLN stands for personal learning network. Think of it as a community of educators working together to make you the best teacher you can be. Your PLN can (and should!) be made up of both teachers in your school and around the country. Use social media to make connections with other educators to share ideas, resources, and best practices. Get started by visiting a forum like The Educator’s PLN. To stay connected with your PLN, set a unique hashtag on Twitter, form a Ning, or create a Google+ community.

Blended Learning

Blended learning combines traditional classroom methods with online instruction, allowing the teacher to customize instruction. Students may be encouraged to work at their own pace to achieve mastery of a skill. Blended learning also allows instructors to collect digital data and assessment information to help them adjust their methods for individual students. Also, students can collaborate with each other in various interactive situations.

Flipped Classroom

A flipped classroom “flips” the order of traditional instruction. Instead of covering material in the classroom and then having students complete assignments at home, flipped learning has students doing their “homework” in class and watching lectures at home. Class time is dedicated to discussions and activities related to the video or audio lecture from the night before. This allows for immediate feedback as well as collaborative opportunities. To see how a Michigan school flipped its classrooms, check out this New York Times article.

Digital Citizenship

To be a good digital citizen is to use technology conscientiously. Practicing digital citizenship requires knowledge of how to be safe online, as well as responsibility for your own content. Instructors and students alike should remember that online activity leaves a digital footprint. Students need to learn that online information cannot be controlled—it can be changed at any time by anyone.


Gamification means applying game elements to nongame situations. It offers a different way for students to solve problems and introduces competition to the classroom, which can motivate students. Instructors can even design their own games to distribute content in a unique and engaging manner. This is a hot topic these days. EdTech magazine offers some pros and cons of gamification in the classroom.

1:1, or 1-to-1 Technology

1:1 is an initiative that places an electronic device—laptop, tablet, smartphone—into the hands of each student in a classroom: one student, one device. Usually, 1:1 refers to a program in which the school provides identical devices to all students. A 1:1 program allows for a wide variety of differentiated instruction as well as immediate feedback in the classroom. But it’s also a large financial commitment for schools and districts.


BYOD stands for bring your own device. This term relates to students who already have a personal laptop, tablet, or smartphone that they can use for their assignments and in and out of the classroom. BYOD programs are much cheaper for districts than 1:1 initiatives, but schools need to know all students have functioning technology at home and teachers need to tailor instruction to several different devices.

Twitter Chat, or Tweet Chat

A Twitter chat is a way to communicate in real time on Twitter. This live event usually revolves around a specific topic or individual. Participants mark their tweets with a dedicated hashtag, such as #edchat, and comment on discussion questions posed by a moderator. The best way to follow a chat is by using a Twitter platform like TweetDeck or TweetChat.

What other edtech terms or acronyms do you need defined? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do a follow-up post.

Hope MorleyHope Morley is a consultant and social media coordinator for Green Light Professional Development. She writes about social media, conferences, and anything else on the web that helps both students and teachers learn. Follow her @GreenlightLT