How to be an explorer of the world is a list created one night by author Keri Smith which she turned into the book of the same name. How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum which Brain Pickings describes as – “a wonderful compendium of 59 ideas for how to get creatively unstuck by engaging with everyday objects and your surroundings in novel ways. From mapping found sounds to learning the language of trees to turning time observation into art, these playful and poetic micro-projects aren’t just a simple creativity booster – they’re potent training for what Buddhism would call “living from presence” and inhabiting your life more fully.”
So I looked at the original list she had created (see the sketch of it above) and thought that they would make a good jumping off point for getting teachers involved in using social media.
So here is my slightly modified version of her awesome list:
How to be an Explorer of Social Media for Teachers:
1. Always be looking
The landscape is constantly changing. Don’t rely on the old idea that you need to learn something and then forget about learning something else. In the world of social media, the rule should be this: Learn the tool, but in a year, learn a better tool. The tools are constantly changing. Just because you love Twitter this year doesn’t mean that you wont love something else that is a better tool next year. Last year’s Facebook is this year’s Pintrest. Always be looking for that new tool.
2. Consider everything you do on the web as alive and animate
There are some very real reasons something is considered “alive:” It can reproduce, it can grow, it can change over time, it can produce waste, it can adapt to it’s environment among other things,. This is the same for what you do on the web. Something you thinks is not important can become a big deal very quickly (growth). That blog post you wrote can all of a sudden be picked up and spread across the world. That brilliant video you created of your students can easily be forgotten when no one views it (waste). Your wiki morphs to what the other users want it to be, not what you expected it to be originally (adapting to the environment.) What you do online is more “alive” than you may think it is.
3. Decide that Everything is Interesting: Look Closer
Do not give up so easily on a blog or website simply because the one entry you read was not so interesting. That TED Talk that was boring doesn’t mean that all TED Talks are boring. Explore. Look more closely. Don’t give up so easily on sites or links.
4. Alter your RSS feed often
There are new and exciting items coming up every day. A few years back, the majority of education bloggers were white, middle class and middle aged males. That has changed a lot recently, with a lot of females joining in the party (although it still is kinda white out there!) Seek out new resources, new feeds, new places of information. Your RSS reader should change constantly as old bloggers run out of information and become redundant and newer ones with new ideas arise from the ether.
5. Strive to be a contributor for long durations
Don’t assume that just because something is not interesting today means that it won’t be interesting tomorrow. Decide that being a part of the social media is a valuable justification of your time. If you decide to become a blogger (do it!) don’t give up if you think no one is reading it. You really never know who is watching. A blog is like a garden: the more time you put into it. the better it becomes. Strive to become a long-term contributor to the conversation.
6. Notice the stories going on around you
There is a lot of information being shared. A lot. Learn to observe. Often by reading others blogs, you can start to see trends in what is being discussed. IF several blogs are talking about a similar topic, chances are that topic is part of a much larger conversation that is happening nationally or even on a world-wide basis.
There are more to this list, of course. I especially like # 8: Document in a number of ways. Isn’t it amazing to you that so many bloggers don’t just write about what they do, they also record video, audio, create comics, and use a ton of tools? They are exploring the possibilities of the technology, and are sort of like the trailblazers, finding out what works and what does not.
You can do the same.
Be an explorer of social media.