Activity 7: Social media in learning and teaching and professional development: Reflections of an ‘experienced teacher.’


I must admit that as a digital learner I am far from native…the name of my blog really does mean something!


However, I cannot imagine how I ever managed without the easy access of social media as a tool for professional development and a guide for teaching and learning.In this post I will discuss professional social media within the context of how it can help me to meet the criteria required of an “experienced teacher.”

As an experienced teacher I am called on to support and provide effective assistance to colleagues in improving teaching and learning. 

 I contribute most frequently to a closed Facebook group,NZ Teachers (Primary) and see this as an extension of the mentoring role I might undertake within a physical community.I have to admit I tend towards the passive user. I read widely and put much of what I read into practice, but I have found the process of contributing quite daunting. 

Experienced teachers continually evaluate and reflect on their teaching and act on areas where it can be improved:

The blog posts of fellow educators have proven to be an amazing pãtaka of treasures. By reading them I can stay in touch not just with modern pedagogy, but with reflections on use in practice. I find those of fellow Kiwis particularly relevant as we tackle similar issues within our particular community.They speak ” kiwish” in terms of experiences. They also respond in a timely and reflective way to current issues, such as the response to a recent news item found here  Such posts inspire readers to consider their own responses to media reports.

Another key feature of social networking is the ability to communicate with educators from other sectors of the wider educational community. I have learnt much which is relevant to my own practice through  In days gone by, there was little opportunity to find common ground between sectors of the teaching community, indeed we viewed each other with some suspicion.

Experienced teachers demonstrate a commitment to their own on-going learning:

Professional blogs, such as been invaluable to me as I have moved through my Mindlab journey.They have allowed me to gain professional knowledge from educators physically distant from little old N.Z. Professional communities such as provide what may be described as ” a participatory system that enables educators to engage in an informal kind of professional learning.” (Melhuish Spencer, 2014)

Experienced teachers successfully organise aspects of programmes within the school to promote teaching and learning.

Within my own  community, our connections through Google+ are probably the most used. We plan collaboratively and feed back/forwards as we work.This allows us to contribute more efficiently than we sometimes are able to face-to-face. Older (slower?) brains such as mine value the reflective and adaptive quality of this form of communication.

Experienced teachers effectively manage challenging learning environments:

My next challenge is to extend the use of social networks into my own community of learners.Thus far, this has been limited to the use of Blendspace ( ) as an interactive community. This is a bit of a ‘cowardly custard’ response to integrating social media… quite controlled. I need to follow the lead of  colleagues who have now started class blogs. I also intend  to look at the use of Google Docs for collaborative learning. I can see particular relevance in shared writing and in forming questions for inquiry learning. It really is a way to provide an equitable platform for all learners, regardless of confidence in oral discussions, to contribute successfully. Melhuish Spencer provides a good reminder of inclusive practice- what she describes as asking,”Who’s not in the room?” when managing social networks.This pertains to other educators as much as to students.(Melhuish Spencer, 2014)

Experienced teachers demonstrate highly effective communication skills when interacting with students, colleagues and families/whanau: 

 What I need to do is to look into issues such as digital citizenship and internet protocol whilst beginning conversations with the wider community, particularly parents, in order to facilitate this. I like what Karen Melhuish Spencer  reminds us about the power we have and the power we give- I need to think about the balance I am willing to offer to my learners. I have a responsibility for helping them not to navigate the technicalities of the tool, but to think about how, when and why they use it and how this impacts on others. (Melhuish Spencer, 2015) 

Finally, experienced teachers demonstrate a high level of commitment to student welfare.

“Students need to learn how to be a part of our society. And increasingly, that society is technologically mediated. As a result, excluding technology from the classroom makes little sense; it produces an unnecessary disconnect between school and contemporary life.” (Boyd,2015 )


Boyd, D. (2015, May 7). Are we training our students to be robots? Retrieved from

Melhuish Spencer, K. (2014, May 30). Can social network sites support effective professional learning? Retrieved from

Melhuish Spencer, K. (2014, October 30). 7 characteristics of a true connected educator. Retrieved from

Melhuish Spencer, K. (2015, June 7). Voice and choice:growing great citizens for a connected world. Retrieved from

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