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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Social Media for Educators/Forty Years Later

There are all kinds of opinions out there about using Social Media with your students.  The Case for Social Media in Schools is one example by someone who has outlined very valid reasons to use sites like Facebook, Edmodo & Edublogs in the classroom.  Here is a post about the recent Missouri Facebook Law which "limits teacher-student interaction online".     

My post really doesn't address the above thoughts except that it IS about teachers and students interacting online via Facebook!

Back in the beginning of July I received a Facebook invite from one of my 6th grade teachers...okay, well, one of my former sixth grade teachers.  He and another one of my former 6th grade teachers, decided to start a Facebook group for those who belonged to our little neighborhood school from the years between 1971 - 1981 (I'm sure I'm dating myself NOW!).

Little by little the group started growing.  In just a short month over 180 now adult, former students (and teachers) of the Fisher School joined the group. Posting after postings are filled will all kinds of memories and memorabilia (photos, newspaper articles, pics of buttons and more).  One might think that this was just a group 'going down memory lane', but it is far more than that.  Here, on Facebook, is where a group of people (in their 40's & 50's) have found a way to let some very special educators know the important role they played in their lives.  

This is a group of extraordinary teachers who have not forgotten their students, who have kept in contact with a few people, sporadically over the years.  They have been invited to weddings, attended the funerals of our classmates and even seen some of us at retirement dinners.   I guess the point here is: I  think the use of social media (in this case Facebook),  has provided an outlet for many more of us to thank those who made a difference in our lives. 


Imagine...Tom Monaghan, Suzanne Gillam, Ellie Muldoon  and the other teachers in this group might never have known the impact they had in our lives were it not for the likes of Facebook!

Henry Adams once said,  "A teacher affects eternity he can never tell, where his influence stops." I'm thinking in this case, by using social media the influence doesn't have to stop!



  1. Each summer when I use to memorize my new kids faces from their previous fifth grade yearbooks before I met or taught them in Grade Six, I learned how simple media strategies can immediately engage minds, hearts and souls. Now in retirement, my social media -Facebook connections with these former students, now adults, deepens that engagement. Thanks-Nancy.

  2. As a "newbie" teacher to Fisher in 1983, I know how teachers like Tom Monahan and Suzanne Gillam can influence even their colleagues. Thank you to all the great teachers who went before us. You were true inspirations. Thanks.
    Paula Garrigus

  3. Nancy:
    I love your posts! What a treat to read your posts and instantly be brought back to the wonders of childhood. From the lessons learned from our elders, to Camp Calumet, and now Fisher School. Your posts bring back happy childhood memories. Great way to start the day! Kathy Holland

  4. Nancy,
    Great post! I was thrilled to find the Fisher group and have passed it along to friends and family. You should check out the "You Made a Difference Campaign" Facebook page - a group started up to thank teachers. Another great use of social media!
    BJ Burke

  5. I watched that clip in your Blog about the "new Missouri" law. If I were a teacher, I would be furious! What are they thinking? That communication between all teachers and students is inappropriate? The very nature of a teacher/student relationship is one of communication and trust, is it not? We hold teachers up as role models for our children..Can we not trust their judgment? What this does is cast a veil of suspicion on ALL teachers. Does no one else have a problem with this law? Am I naive? I think that it boils down to a fear of social media. Ok, so I'm afraid...Oh yea, let's make another law! Let's protect our children from their educators! Makes sense to me!!!

  6. Thank you so much for putting the experience we've all had during the past month into such a great post! I can't help but notice the number of "students" who have gone on to become teachers! The amazing teachers we knew all those years ago, have shaped our lives in ways they probably never imagined. I can only hope we have learned to do a little of the same for our own students.

  7. @Tom I think the technology has changed but engaging, motivating and helping students learn remains the same (no matter the method).

    @Paula - You are also in that list. I will always remember how you would have your kids working with their hands (cooking; digging in the sand being archeologists-lots of good memories).

    @Kathy H. After reading all the posts from the Fisher gang - new memories were springing forward in my mind. Much like whenever we get together and starting chatting about the old neighborhood. Thanks for commenting.

    @BJ I will definitely take a look at that campaign on FB.

    @Carol Ann - Your comment is so right! I think fear leads to rash decisions and not allowing contact between teachers and students is ridiculous. I saw an info graphic that showed 80% of kids contact their teachers via email for help. So, once again, a few spoil things for all. I don't get it either. Thanks for commenting.

    @Suzy - I often wondered how many people from Walpole grew up to be teachers. It is a tribute to those we learned from. What and where do you teach???

  8. Hi Nancy - I teach third grade in Falmouth at Mullen-Hall School - you can visit my blog here:

    My teaching is heavily influenced by my experiences in elementary school - 90%wonderful, and the other 10% ended up making a positive difference in the end, as well ;).

    Take care and Happy Blogging!!

  9. Terrific, poignant post. I love the Adams quote--I'll print to place in my classroom, good reminder.


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