5 People We Should All Be Following On Social Media
I saw an interview the other day with New York Times media reporter David Carr, who spoke of how much he enjoys telling grade-schoolers how the news used to be reported and delivered. He tells young people how the news was either printed on paper pages (and thrown onto a family’s lawn) or delivered through three major TV channels — and just about nowhere else.
Who could have predicted the major changes in news and information delivery brought about by the worldwide reach of the Internet? Lately, children get a lot of their news headlines not from TV channels, but from social media channels — many of which are tremendously helpful to educators.
I prefer to divide my favorite social media recommendations into educators and non-educators.
Social media can connect you to a vast array of perspectives and resources on nationwide educational policy. The commentators below aren’t hesitant in voicing their opinions and are very good in engaging others in their discussion.
The Huffington Post has done a solid job of addressing a wide range of issues, but it seems to pay special attention to education, where associate editor Rebecca Klein does a great job both reporting the latest news and retweeting articles.
She doesn’t hesitate to dive into thorny issues such as race in schools, the effect of Common Core on teachers and the larger political issues that drive the restructuring of American schools. Along with all of that, she’s very funny and wry on her Twitter feed.
Andrew Rotherham is one of the most interesting and well-read leaders in American education discussions today. His analyses of educational trends at both the local and national levels are helpful to gain a broad understanding, but to also see how these trends affect teachers today.
I find his analysis of school districts’ growing pension obligations to be fascinating (I know, not the most riveting stuff). He’s also the principal author of the blog Eduwonk, which provides a great, broad analysis of all things school-related.
Diane Ravitch is the most vocal opponent of the nationwide trend toward widespread testing of students, connecting teacher performance to those tests, and the increasing presence of private corporations in public schools. Her social media presence, mostly found on Twitter, is a strong resource for hearing the “other side of the story” on these topics.
I enjoy reading her work for her passion and desire to connect people together, but I do wish she wasn’t quite so incendiary and unwilling to see the other side of the education debate.
While these non-educators are not formally in the business of teaching, their insights can be of great interest to all teachers and administrators. Their thoughts are organizational, international and analytical.
Seth Godin is a leading voice for explaining how the Internet is changing the worlds of work and school. His work revolves around how the world is moving away from the “scarcity economy,” in which things were attributed value because they were hard to come by, and toward the “connection economy,” where globalization, the Internet and digital products are turning the old economy on its head.
For educators, his thoughts are particularly important as he reinforces the importance of building trust in relationships, focusing on what’s important and staying adaptable to changing times. I begin each morning by reading his daily blog post, which you can have emailed to you.
A statistician by training and experience, Nate Silver rose to prominence for accurately predicting the results of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. His interesting mix of analyzing data and writing about it in a way that is easily understood and appreciated by the masses is worth your while. He recently left the New York Times to create his own website with a full editorial and writing staff.
The first few articles have focused on the NCAA tournament, the upcoming midterm Senate elections and trends in unemployment numbers. His work can be used in most classrooms to describe the connection between data, analysis and prediction.
Bonus site: Quartz.com
I’m a firm believer that Americans’ physical and social separation from the rest of the world makes us myopic about understanding how events around the world impact us at home. I recently stumbled across Quartz.com and quickly appreciated its wide-ranging articles on social issues, trends in different cultures and especially its articles on education.
The Quartz model, which Godin would love, appears to be working with a wide variety of authors from around the world and then editing them very well for broad consumption. Along with the articles, you will also find interesting analyses of current events. It’s a great way to get a broad understanding of worldwide issues.