Addressing the “Stock Photos” of Social Media EDU

If you ask most habitual “twitter using” teachers about social media, they pretty much swear that any changes in their classroom that have occurred happened as a result of twitter. I can’t argue with that statement either as my own life and career has been greatly enhanced by the addition of social media. We’ve even made a point to include social media sessions at almost every educational event…as we should.

Twitter has been amazing in communicating the great things of edu but after talking to a few struggling teachers who are also on social media, I have to wonder if the “one-sided” shared positives are painting pictures of perfection that rarely exist. Has the socially connected teacher and classroom become one big stock photo?

The Perfect Images of Twitter EDU

Yesterday, I had a long discussion with a group of connected and non-connected educators about social media in our classrooms. The connected educators swore by it but admitted to feeling less than capable compared to every other teacher that they followed. The words…”no one else seems to have kids that struggle” resonated with me. However, the most cringe worthiest statement was this…

“It’s like every classroom is a stepford classroom and mine doesn’t fit”


The Socially Painted Picture

When my kids take selfies, they take as many as 10-15 images just to capture one. I’m just as guilty in doing that. The perfect filter can add even more dimension to a shot. It’s human nature to only share the parts of us that look great because struggle may show weakness and that is often hard. That’s the perception anyway.

From a classroom perspective, we share the lesson that worked. We share our best that our kids have done. Our work, our “selfies” are no different than those of my teenagers and that includes filtering. As much as we know that “it’s not about the tech, but the learning” and that “technology doesn’t make a bad teacher a great teacher”…most only share the tech. Sharing a great tool is more comfortable than sharing a moment of impact from instruction.

Of course, I understand what can and cannot be shared in the social realm. However, I think that we can only help further our cause of improving classrooms if we expand on sharing beyond the perfect shot.

We can choose to not share only the “selfie” version of ourselves and share what really matters…how we are truly impacting kids…ALL of them. They all have a story…the good, the bad and everything in between. When we leave those stories out, we are in essence saying that the “imperfect parts” matter less.

Your Challenge: Talk About Something Else

Whether in twitter chats or blogs, we’re not changing anything by only looking at the “shiny tools” and learning that results. There are other factors of edu at play. Let’s talk about…

  • How to address needs of diverse learners
    • Working with struggling students
    • Reaching gifted kids in a mixed ability class
    • Teaching children of color
    • Challenges with girls vs boys
    • Technology divide (BYOD is NOT for everyone)
    • Addressing Learning Gaps
    • Motivating the “I don’t want to be here kid”
    • Children of poverty
  • Teaching in a “disconnected” environment
  • Teaching & remaining sane amidst a plethora of mandates
  • Difficult parent/teacher conversations
  • Being a rockstar even if you don’t feel like it (because we should all be this)

(I could go on and on. You get the idea)

Education isn’t perfect and it most certainly isn’t all about the technology. It’s time that we expand these conversations.

I don’t want the “stock photo” of education. I want the real deal.

Comments 8

  1. This is a great post and one of the reasons that I try to highlight failures as I create them. Not every day is perfect in my classroom. Heck, I can’t think of the last perfect day in there. Good stuff. Your blog is looking really nice.

    1. Thank you Chris! I definitely appreciate you for doing that as well as the rest of your readers. Maybe there is even a correlation here between genius hour projects and freedom to acknowledge failures. I know that watching my nephew has greatly influenced my ability to do so. Hmmm….that may be worth exploring!

  2. Way to get folks talking about what’s important. Time to push this on the forefront of our educator chats.

    1. That you! Many great conversations happening tonight and I’m sure none of that was due to this post but maybe this is a start that we needed!

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