Great Social Networks for Teachers

By Rob Klindt

Social networks are among the most powerful and versatile tools for teachers. From networking with other educators to sharing lesson plans and learning resources, social networks offer a multitude of personal and professional benefits.

For educators, social networks widen opportunities to:

  • Partner with other teachers or schools.
  • Share ideas.
  • Build a professional contact network.
  • Strengthen professional development.
  • Research job and continuing education opportunities.

Several social networking sites are designed specifically for teachers; here’s a look at some of the most popular sites:

Classroom resources and social media

Social networks can help educators find valuable classroom resources, connect with colleagues or educational experts and follow industry trends.

  • Blendspace is a popular social network for teachersBlendspace. Teachers can use this visual learning platform to blend, organize and share educational materials on Web-based boards. Tools include multimedia lesson planners, student quiz-builders and grade trackers that are useful for project-based learning, flipped classrooms and differentiated instruction. Free.
    Visit the website
  • Classroom 2.0. This lively social network is for educators who want to step up the use of social media and participative technologies in K-12 classrooms. The site includes videos from education and technology experts, informational blogs, live chat forums and discussion groups on tech topics. Free; registration required.
    Visit the site
  • Edmodo. Classroom management, student assessments and breaking educational trends for K-12 classrooms are just some of the topics teachers will want to follow on this social learning site, which resembles Facebook. Interactive tools encourage communication between teachers, parents and students. Free; registration required.
    Visit the site

English

Online education communities that focus on English instruction can help teachers follow industry trends.

  • English Companion. This online community for English teachers includes live chat forums, blogs, discussion groups and multimedia programs focusing on how to improve English education for K-12 students. Free; registration required.
    Visit the website

Mathematics

Tapping into social networks that focus on math can help teachers quickly find new and effective teaching tools.

  • Hungry Teacher. Math teachers will appreciate this site’s downloadable lesson plans that engage K-12 students in the mathematics world around them using everyday calculations and word problems. Topics are presented in game formats and include geometry, numbers and operations, statistics, measurements, data and more. Free.
    Visit the site
  • Math Educator’s Learning Network. Math teachers will find peer support chat forums, professional development tips, instructional videos and links to educational news articles and trends on this site. Free; registration required to participate in forums.
    Visit the site
  • The Educator’s PLN. This online personal learning network focuses on helping science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers develop lesson plans for middle and high school students. Features include chat forums, blogs and discussion groups focusing on specific classroom topics. Free; registration required.
    Visit the site

Professional development

Using social networks, educators can reach out and connect with colleagues to share professional development tips, industry trends and classroom resources.

  • Teachers network has a host of excellent tools for educatorsTeachers Network. How-to articles on teaching and learning styles and videos focused on aligning K-12 classroom curriculum are among the most popular resources offered on this site. Also, downloadable lesson plans and classroom activities for all grades are available. Free.
    Visit the site
  • We Are Teachers. Visitors to this site will find an excellent collection of blogs and chat forums that cover K-12 education trends, professional development tips, job hunting resources and continuing education news for teachers. Also available are dozens of downloadable lesson plans and classroom resources. Free; registration required.
    Visit the site

Participation is the key to using any successful social network. When teachers find a network that they like, it’s important to contribute to group discussions, share classroom tips and offer expertise on specific subjects. Over time, that participation will open a wide range of resources and opportunities that will benefit teachers both professionally and personally.

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