Being Online, Honestly

I hate posts by bloggers apologizing for not blogging. What could be more boring. My friend Amy always told me not to apologize (so much).

I just find it kind of ironic that while I’m teaching a course this term that requires LOTS of social media work, I haven’t been posting much here. Over the past two-plus years, blogging has become my medium of choice for what might, surprisingly, be seen as long-form writing by Internet standards. Nowhere approaching the academic guidelines I was trained to follow, my musings are generally around 500-800 words. While they might not be developed enough for a peer-reviewed journal, neither are they fit for the 140 character tweet. But tweeting is just what I’ve been doing. And pinning, and scooping, and hashtagging all over the Interwebs. Along with my students. They are the reason I’m giving it all so much of my time.

Art educators have more ways than ever to connect with one another (all the world around), with the families of the children we work with everyday, and the communities we serve. We haven’t had this much public exposure for our work since. . . probably ever. We have the tools for our own ever more important advocacy literally at our fingertips. And inherent in those tools are reasons why art education is important.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, why isn’t every art teacher on Instagram? A blog for every artroom ought to be our goal for 2020.

The truth is, there are lot of busy teachers working “in the trenches” who don’t know enough about Web2.0 to see how it can serve them. And they don’t have time to find out either. Some fear the risks they might expose themselves to  by being online, connecting with their students. They haven’t had a chance to consider how they might leverage these tools to engage their students. How being online with other art educators might invigorate their practice and inspire new content and methods for instruction in their studios-in-the schools.

So I’m happy to have this time with them, to be exploring some sites lots of folks take for granted. As we navigate and explore, we are sharing our observations about what’s working, what could work better, how we ought to be and with whom we ought to connect in this place or that. It’s sort of simple stuff, but stuff that takes time to sort out and could have important ramifications for their work, and our work as a profession, moving forward.

With that, I leave you with a question. How are you using social media to share your teaching, and your students’ work, with the world? Where do you find the best opportunities for exchange with colleagues? And how do you use the Internet to stay fresh?

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3 thoughts on “Being Online, Honestly

  1. We use facebook to quickly and easily show our students and their work, and use our blog for more in-depth articles. We also do some pinterest, but there is only so much time! I do agree that social media is a fantastic way to share visual art and teachings about it. Thanks for the post!

  2. The way I use social media in my classroom is through image sharing and podcasting. I enjoy posting podcasts of my students talking about or explaining something about their artworks. The kids also get some of their works posted on Artsonia.

    It’s tough to keep up with posting anything of theirs right now; in the past I did much better. At the moment I’m committed to my own professional growth in the UF MAAE program. My current course is Globalization, Art, and Education, taught by Dr. Kushins, and has been an exceptional reminder of the value of being globally connected not only for myself but also for my students. It’s quite an honor to help the young learners experience positive ways to be global citizens and the benefits that can result from such.

    After graduation I’ll make sure my students are online superstars once again.

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