The Right Fuel
A few months ago Facebook changed their "groups" implementation to facilitate a higher degree of interaction amongst members. There were three key changes that excited me:
- Member postings now show immediately in the personal newsfeeds of all members
- Members can easily add their colleagues
- Members can receive new postings as emails (think "listserv")
By making group interaction easy Facebook has finally become a viable platform for people who are not "friends" but share a common interest. This is a logical step for educators since most of us are already "there." We just needed a simple and effective way to connect.
The PLC Launch Pad
Shortly after the group enhancements were made I launched "I'm a band director" (http://facebook.com/groups/banddirector) with the intent of creating a thriving Professional Learning Community (PLC) for band directors. Within its first month the membership crossed the 1,000 mark and is now approaching 1,200. But more importantly people are conversing and sharing what they know. We are talking repertoire, rehearsal techniques, organization, philosophy, resources. In short, Facebook has become a professional development hub...perhaps the place to discuss the band directing profession. We finally have the right tools and the right conditions to bring actual practitioners together utilizing something that is already a part of (nearly) everyone's daily routine: Checking in with Facebook.
Everyone Is An Astronaut
One aspect of the Facebook PLC that I find particularly exciting is the concept of what it means to "be published." If I post a blog article that I've written or someone posts a teaching tip, the "like" button and comments in our PLC become an instant peer review system. And what is even more powerful is that the "peers" are truly just that: Actual school practitioners. The immediacy of this paradigm frankly blows my mind. No longer are teachers waiting for the next issue of a magazine in order to get new ideas. No longer are authors waiting to hear from a review panel comprised with (at times) reviewers who are out of touch with current practices. The Facebook PLC allows every member to publish their thoughts and instantly receive feedback, affirmation, and refinement of their ideas. And everyone benefits from this synergy on a daily basis.
Stop By And Say Hello
If you haven't taken the Professional Learning Community plunge, I would certainly suggest you give our PLC a try. Oh, and if you teach orchestra, check out "I teach orchestra" at http://facebook.com/groups/orchestrateacher as well...we just crossed the 200 mark.